Bruges is a city that immediately grabs every visitor. A city on a human scale and never to be fully explored. Grown up by its history and awarded the Unesco label as a World Heritage City. Medieval mysterious, exuberant Burgundian and a world city for centuries. Anyone who walks through the streets of Bruges now sees themselves as being back in time in many places. This feeling, complemented by the wonderful Burgundian life known in Bruges, ensures that tourists have a great time in Bruges. And S-wan lets you discover this city in a surprising way. What are you waiting for to book your tour of Bruges?

Bruges in the summer

Bruges in the winter (FILM)

History in a nutshell 

Water played a crucial role in the creation of Bruges. At the birthplace of Bruges, several streams flowed together to form the Reie, which then flowed north into the coastal plain. The Reie was connected to the sea via so-called "tidal channels". It is therefore not surprising that port activities were already visible here in the second half of the 3rd and early 4th centuries. This can be deduced from the remains of at least two seaworthy boats that were discovered near today's Bruges. However, it would take another 500 years for the name "Bruges" to appear. Perhaps a derivative of the old Germanic word "brugja" or jetty. Bruges gradually emerged as a commercial settlement with a port, but also as a fortified fortress for the Flemish counts. To the extent that the place developed into a bustling commercial city and a powerful political stronghold in the 11th century.
The start

In the In the 13th century, Bruges could proudly call itself the most important trade center in northwestern Europe. The world's first stock exchange was opened. It was in a square in front of the building of the Van der Beurse merchant family in Bruges. Despite the typical medieval complaints, from epidemics to political unrest to social inequality, the people in Bruges thrived and the city soon became a magnet. Around 1340 the inner city had no less than 35,000 inhabitants.
The golden century

The success continued. Things went even better in the 15th century, Bruges' golden century. The Burgundian dynasty settled in the city, many new luxury products were produced and famous painters such as Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling - the great Flemish primitives - found their creative place here. The fine arts ruled and in addition to many beautiful churches and unique nation houses, a monumental town hall was also built. Bruges seemed aloof.
The decay
The death of the popular Maria of Burgundy in 1482 ushered in the sudden reversal. The relationship between Bruges and the widower Maximilian acidified and the Burgundian court left the city. International traders followed. Centuries of wars and changes in power followed. In the mid-19th century, Bruges was a city in poverty. Oddly enough, a novel would turn this sad page.
The revival

In "The Dead Bruges" by Georges Rodenbach (1892), Bruges is aptly described as a somewhat sleepy but very mysterious place. Bruges' beautiful legacy was soon rediscovered and her mysterious intimacy immediately became her greatest asset. Building on this dynamic, Zeebrugge was given a new seaport, and Bruges carefully took its first cautious tourist steps. Successfully. Unesco promoted the medieval city center to World Heritage. The rest is history. (Source: Visit Bruges)

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