Local traditions and culture in Brugge

  • Coat of arms
    Coat of arms
    by Nemorino
  • Theatre façade
    Theatre façade
    by Nemorino
  • Papageno
    Papageno
    by Nemorino

Most Viewed Local Customs in Brugge

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    Sculptures at the theatre

    by Nemorino Updated Nov 24, 2012

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    In front of the City Theatre is a metal statue of Papageno, the bird catcher, a character in the opera Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791).

    The statue was made by Jef Claerhout (born 1937), a Belgian sculptor.

    Claerhout grew up in a family of metalworkers, so he makes his statues mainly out of metal. Among other works, he created the statue of Marieke, which is displayed near the Predrikherenrei in Brugge as a tribute to the singer Jacques Brel (1929-1978).

    The sculptor Jef Claerhout is so popular in this part of Flanders that there are two marked bicycle routes leading to places where his sculptures are on display.

    Around towards the back of the theatre there is another metal sculpture group (fourth photo). It shows three very tall and thin (in fact anorexic, if you ask me) naked women, one standing and reading a book.

    The Bruges City Theatre was built in 1869. For many years it was used for elaborate opera productions, as described in the third chapter of Bruges-la-Morte by Georges Rodenbach.

    The theatre was thoroughly restored in 2001 and is now used for contemporary dance, drama and concerts. It has seating for 650 people.

    Stadsschouwburg (City Theatre)
    Vlamingstraat 29
    8000 Brugge, Belgium
    Tel. 050 44 30 40

    http://www.ccbrugge.be/

    Location of the theatre (Stadsschouwburg) on OpenStreetMap

    Next: S.P.Q.B.

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    S.P.Q.B.

    by Nemorino Updated Nov 24, 2012

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    When I first noticed this coat of arms at the top of the façade of the City Theatre, I thought it was a nice joke and was about to congratulate the Council and People of Brugge on their sense of humor.

    But it turns out not to be a joke. The Latin abbreviation S.P.Q.B., meaning Senatus Populusque Brugensis (council and people of Brugge) was solemnly and humorlessly added to the coat of arms of the city in the seventeenth century, to emphasize the city’s administrative and judicial autonomy.

    It is derived from the famous ancient Roman abbreviation S.P.Q.R., which meant Senatus Populusque Romanus.

    Evidently the council and people of Brugge in the seventeenth century did not see anything ludicrous in comparing their struggling little city to the huge Roman Empire.

    http://www.ngw.nl/int/bel/b/brugge.htm

    Next: Hotel Hans Memling

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    Swans

    by Myfanwe Written Feb 12, 2012

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    Legend has it that the Swan has been swimming the waters and canals of Brugge since 1448 when Emporer Maximilian was imprisoned in the City and his councillor Pieter Lanchais was beheaded. The coat of arms belonging to the councillor featured a Swan. The Emporer ordered that swans be kept on the canals of Brugge forevermore as a reminder of the City's dreadful crime.

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    Swans

    by Balam Written Jan 23, 2012

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    In 1488 the people of Bruges had executed one of the town administrators belonging to the court of Maximilian of Austria (husband and successor of duchess Mary of Burgundy).
    The town administrator was called 'Pieter Lanchals', a name which means ' long neck'.
    The Lanchals family coat of arms featured a white swan and legend has it that Maximilian punished Bruges by obliging the population to keep swans on their lakes and canals till eternity

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    You Can Take Your Horse To Water...

    by johngayton Updated Jan 21, 2011

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    ...but you can't make it drink!

    I liked this little horse head fountain which I think was on Walplein, the same street as the Halve Maan brewery, heading towards the Minnewaterpark.

    This is where the horse and cart people (sorry I should have said "carriage") take their horses for a break. I don't think this is one of the places from which you can take rides from but the carriagieres seemed more than happy for those with children to get a few pics taken whilst the horses were having their feed. I didn't see any money changing hands for the pic-ops and so that's one big plus for what I otherwise found to be a tourist trap of a city.

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    Unhelpful Signage

    by johngayton Written Jan 13, 2011

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    I'm not quite sure what this is all about.

    Most tourist destinations have signage that directs you to the main places of interest and the useful stuff such as where the railway station is. Here in Brugge though all the signs seemed to only give directions to the various hotels - maybe I was being a bit short-sighted and didn't notice the others but every sign I saw was similar to the one pictured.

    I assume these are paid for by the hotels signed and not provided by the local tourist office??

    Hmmm....

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    Brugge Tripel Dagen

    by ranger49 Updated Jul 29, 2009

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    We arrived in Brugge on the first day of he Tripel Dagen Festival of Music. This event is held every year to coincide with Belgium's National Day (July 21st) and takes place in the Markt, beginning at 6pm each day.
    We went along on the first night, admission was free and although the Square was certainly crowded it was not jam-packed. Small children were running around collecting the plastic beakers people were drinking from. I wasn't sure whether this was to prevent rubbish in the square; for recycling or so they could be reused.
    But the children were eager and excited so we guessed they probably received a few cents in return.
    It was obvious that tparents were comfortable to let their 7/8 - 10/11 year olds run around. Community police officers strolled through the crowds in pairs, chatting with people but keeping a low profile .

    If you wanted a drink you had to buy tokens from a Kiosk at the entrance - no cash exchanged hands in the Markt.
    I was impressed by the convivial, good natured spirit of the occasion, the absence of drunkeness and the warm response given to l.ocal bands and singers.

    The second night moved up a notch; 1 euro to enter the Markt; noisier bands but families still there in large numbers. We foolishly ignored the advice given on VT and went to one of the cafes in the square - very expensive and poor coffee!

    The third night is Sing-a-Long Night. Song sheets are handed out with the words of popular songs - easy listening stuff - and this was the big night. The square was so crowded I would not have wanted to be inside. Even so I have to say everyone seemed to be having a great time and there was no sign of disturbance.

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    See the Tango Club of Bruges at the Fish Market

    by ranger49 Updated Jul 29, 2009

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    I was told that the Fish Market - Vismarkt sells fish early every morning except Sunday and Monday. The only activities I saw there during our short break were a craft/flea market - and an exhibition of Tango dancing.
    It is quite an elegant building dating from the early 19th century with colonnaded and covered roof sides, around an open square.- Thankfully there was no lingering smell of fish!

    On dry, summer evenings the Tango Club of Bruges meets to dance in the square.
    We happened to be passing by on a Sunday evening and stopped to watch a while. We arrived just as the guest dancers were introduced; they danced to recorded music but I was told that there is sometimes live music.
    I am no expert but they seemed rather good and had much appreciation from a sizeable audience which gathered around.

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  • Not so good for veggies

    by Vaughany Written Mar 19, 2009

    There's not much choice for vegetarians here. I looked at most of the menus in the town centre and they all seem to do a great steak and lots of mussels. Although there's little provision for veggies, you can usually get a pizza.

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    Flemish Heros

    by scottishvisitor Updated Apr 25, 2007

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    We spotted a statue in Grote Markt near to the Belford. Here two men are remembered and honoured. The Flemish liberating heroes were Jan Breydell and Pieter de Coninck they led an army of peasants and craftsmen in the Battle of Golden Spur in 1302. The battle was fought near Courtrai where men from rebel Flemish towns gathered to confront the French army sent by Philip lV who had annexed Flanders in 1301. The French cavalry was defeated and the rebels collected 700 golden spurs from the fallen French Knights

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    Entertaining Streets

    by scottishvisitor Written Apr 18, 2007

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    It may have been the Easter weekend bringing out the entertainment in the city's streets and squares. As we walked around in the sunshine amusing entertainment seemed ever present. Free Hugs in a city square - always nice to receive a hug even from a stranger. The cheerful organ grinder had the crowds in tears of laughter with his comical antics. Pan pipers filling the air with sweet melodies and trying hard to sell CD's. Jugglers who kept dropping everything we had a great time Hey we even met the Easter Bunny!!

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    Lace making a thing of the past

    by scottishvisitor Written Apr 18, 2007

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    When I visited Brugge on a school trip long ago the markets and streets were full of young girls and old women busy making lace items. Hand made lace can still be found but you would have to look long and hard to find some. Most lace products are mass produced machine made and imported from the far east. We spotted this old lady practicing her skill in a doorway. Nice to know it still exsists even on a small scale

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    Fish Market

    by Nega Updated Feb 19, 2007

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    The fish market in the centre at the Braambergstraat is where you ll find all the delicacies the north sea has to offer and for prices much cheaper then what they ask in the surrounding shops. In the afternoon it doubles as a lousy souvenir market. Walking from th Burgh through the Blinde Ezelstraat you can't miss it. The fresh north sea shrimps are delicious.

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    Blinde Ezelstraat

    by Nega Written Feb 19, 2007

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    The Blinde Ezelstraat is a smal alley next to the Burgh. Just around the corner is the Town Hall. When you want to get married at the Town Hall you have to walk through this street, so locals say the reason why they call it the street of the blind donkey is that you have to be a real dunkey to get married.

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    behind the madonna...

    by belgianchocolate Updated Feb 26, 2005

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    When you visit a church and there are a lot of
    tiles with text on the wall you can be sure that
    the statue nearby is worshipped.
    Catholic church does not forbid such thing.

    This picture was taken in the Onze-Lieve_vrouwe
    kerk in the 'Mariastraat' (mariastreet).
    The wall behind and even opposite of the statue
    are full off thank you tiles. It is so that people
    come to pray in front of the statue and ask
    for something special. (like the recovery of a beloved
    of to pass an exam...or something more serious)
    You light a candle with those wishes...
    (don't forget to pay for the candle - it is self
    service but you are supposed to donated
    the asked money in the bin.)

    If it worked - big time - people donate such
    a tiles. (the H. Rita works very well for the
    hopeless - de hopeloze gevallen)

    I don't take it all too serious but if it doesn't helps ,
    it didn't hurt either...and I got great experiences with the Holy Rita. :-)

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