History of Bruges

The name Bruges was first found in the 9th century on coins. Then the name was spelt ‘Bryghia’, a Celtic word which means ‘quay’, since an estuary ‘Het Zwin’ arose by multiple floods.

The link with the sea was the beginning of the economical prosperity of Bruges in the Middle Ages. We could call the 15th century ‘The Golden Age’ of Bruges. The Dukes of Burgundy made Bruges their main residence and attracted a large number of artists. This resulted in beautiful buildings and the heydays for painters of the Flemish School of Primitive Painting.

From the 16th until the 19th century, Bruges (Flanders) was occupied by the Austrians, the Frenchmen and the Dutchmen. With the independence of Belgium in 1830, gradually an economical and cultural revival occurred.

Bruges became cultural capital in 2002 and was declared world heritage by the UNESCO.

Tourism is for Bruges the main source of income.

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