Getting out of the train station we walked through this nice green park.
Minnewaterpark is full of small canals (it is actually an artificial lake that helped flood control during medieval era), birds (including some beautiful swans, by the way it’s interesting to know the first swans came here in 1448 by Maximilian of Austria) etc Minnewater park means “lake of love” in dutch (though more accurately it ought to be rendered the lake upon which all love as Georges Rodenback writes) and definitely you will have many nice photo shots in romantic corners here before you start exploring the medieval old part of the town. Once a busy harbour now just a peaceful park for joggers.
The truth is that we had a heavy storm just before we got off the station and everything was wet around but loved the area anyway although we couldn’t lay on the grass like the swans :) Lovely park for sure, you can also check the Powder Tower that dates from 14th century and the lock gate from 15th century. We had some peaceful minutes here before we got into town where we saw hordes of tourists.
Notwithstanding the multitude of reflections which were mirrored in the waters-corners of blue skies, red tiles of roofs, snow of swans, green of poplar trees-all were unified into tracks leaving the effect of an uncoloured silence.
The Minnewater (Lake of Love) and its lovely park is one of the first things you see in the city of Bruges, when arriving by train or coach. The lake and surrounding park offer an excellent retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city`s sights and streets. The many resident swan couples form the finishing touch to it`s romantic character.
The coastal river Reie entered the city here. The river was canalized and made to continue to the centre of town. There are several explanations as where the name Minnewater comes from. It could be water van het gemeen, which can be translated as the 'common water'. The lake was used as a water reservoir.
The lake is also called lake of love (minne means love), imagine the stories for that name.
One of the symbols of Bruges is the swan. There are always plenty to be found on the Minnewater. The legend about the swans of Bruges: In 1488 the people of Bruges had executed one of the town administrators belonging to the court of Maximilian of Austria. The town administrator ,Pieter Lanchals, family coat of arms featured a white swan. Legend has it that Maximilian punished Bruges by obliging the population to keep swans on their lakes and canals till eternity.
Even on a winters day (as it was on our visit) this is worth visiting - so tranquil and beautiful.
Minnewater was my first impression of Bruges – it started the day with wonderful thoughts of the city and the city did not let me down. I have always had a passion for medieval towns, stone buildings, walls, cobbled streets, bridges over narrow waterways and swans. No wonder I liked Bruges so much – it had all this and more! And Minnewater could be the summation of these enjoyments for me.
We started near the Poedertoren, our first meeting stop after walking over from the train station. The water created reflections of the trees and buildings and birds played in the skies. The only thing better would be if the sun was out, but we just don’t get everything we want all the time. At least it wasn’t raining and wasn’t too cold, so I was fine with that.
As we walked towards Minnewater, we followed the canal and crossed over a bridge. What waited for me were the swans! Lots of them, and they were either in the water or eating in the grass. There was a fence around their area to keep the people out and the swans seemed not to notice this group of 20 people taking their photos. The area was beautiful – green grass, cobbled streets, stone buildings and bridges and funky statues (and swans!). I was thankful that our instructor allowed us some exploration time so we could just soak in this wonderful section of Bruges. There were shops and cafes around, but I opted to just walk around and take photos (glad I had that snack at the train station!).
The swans have been here since the late 1400s and were ordered to be kept in memory of Maximilian of Austria’s late councilor (who has executed in Bruges). The word minne in Dutch means love, so this is the “lake of love.” I call it beautiful.
Minnewater lake is functional as well as providing a beautiful picturesque area. Water for the Canals enter Minnewater, fed from the Ghent and perimeter canals. The pink brick lockhouse which overlooks the long rectangular basin, regulates the level of the canals in the city centre. The name Minnewater is often translated as the 'lake of love'. There is a lovely parkland (Minnewater Park) to the South East of the lake where you can get away from it all and walk off some calories if you've eaten too much of the lovely Belgian Chocolate!
At the southern edge of Brugge you'll find Minnewater Park, a quiet oasis away from the herd of tourists in the central part of Brugge. There isn't really anything to do here besides walk and enjoy the scenery
The Minnewater, or "lake of love", is found close to the train station. It's a little canalized lake with a park, a quite and idyllic place – even in winter, probably more beautiful during the other seasons! In any case, if you come by train, this is a great start for your visit of Brugge. There's also a nice bridge and a tower from the late 14th century called Poertoren (powder tower). And of course many swans!
The Lake of Love is something of an oasis in the city of Brugge. Though not huge in area it has these lovely aspects, whether sitting at one of the restaurants or simply strolling by the park or leaning over the bridge admiring the reflections.
There's a guardhouse (Sashuis) on the adjacent lock which stands between the reien and Minnewater and, particularly around autumn, many artists have found inspiration here.
As if to add to the romanticism of the place, fairy lights illuminate it in the evening.
Of course, there's a reason the swans are, they didn't just come naturally! In 1488 the populus of Bruges executed one of their administrators whose nickname was 'Pieter Lanchals' (long neck). So it came to pass that the administrator had a family coat of arms that featured a white swan. So what did this man do before he died? He punished Brugge by obliging the whole population to keep swans on their lakes and canals till eternity!
For a while Minna managed to convince her caring father that a marriage was not really suitable for her but, finally his patience ran out. He was getting old and sought assurances about her future.
His decision was that when the sun rose for the 3rd time he would give her away to his choice, Horneck.
Minna was now desperate. Torn between her feelings and her promise to Stromberg and the will of her father.
Before the sun set on the 3rd day, she ran away during the night and into the woods, never to return again.
Some time later, when the acute danger of the Romans was gone, Stromberg returned. Soon he found out about the disappearance of his beloved and started a near impossible search.
However, after many fearful hours he found his lover but she was totally exhausted from the lack of food and ardours of her escape. She only managed to survive just long enough to die in his arms.
Stromberg was distraught and his immediate thought was to take his own life, but then he changed his mind. He decided that he wanted the place where his true love Minna had died to be remembered always. He would cherish and honour this place as long as he lived and to this end he built a cabin then a dam in the middle of the stream to block the water.
In the dry bed of the river he then dug a grave for his lost love before removing the dam to let the water cover the site.
At the shore he found a huge rock which he inscribed in remembrance of Minna “Minna-Water”.
The legend says that much later in history this is the exact location where the present tower has been built.
The name Minnewater is derived from the Dutch word Menne meaning love. It is hard to imagine this tranquil lake being part of a busy outer harbour in past industrial times. The gothic Sluishuis or lock house with its pretty pink brick and red tiles presents a perfect partner to Love Lake creating a picturesque and colourful scene. Early Spring saw the trees produce a profusion of greenbuds, I could have stayed forever watching as the dappled sunlight enhanced the weeping willow as she bend down toward the lake. I had images in my mind of artists with easels dotted around capturing the beauty of nature on canvas. May be in dark Winter day in the future I might try to capture the serenity of beauty in water colour myself.
The "Love Lake" is a small lake surrounded by a large peaceful park. It is located in between the main train station and the city's historical core. This area is the perfect introduction to the city of Bruges.
The Minnewater or Lake of Love is a man made reservoir created in the 13th century to expand the city's harbor, it's hard to believe, looking at it now, that in medieval times this lake could support more than 100 ships at a time. Today there are no foreign ships, it's one of the most tranquil, not to mention photogenic spots in Brugge.
A legend exists about the swans that you will find here, in 1488 the citizens of Brugge imprisoned Maxmilian of Austria and decapitated his advisor, Pieter Lanchals whose name means "long neck", his family's coat of arms was said to be swans. When Maximilian was freed he punished Brugge by ordering them to keep swans on their lakes and canals for eternity.
Minnewater means "Love Lake". So when I first heard the name, I made a mental note not to go there. I earnestly dislike anything that has a saccharine sweet name!(Back of my mind, I was thinking of a certain lake in Vietnam with the same name, it had love-shaped arches, artificial swan-paddle boats and other things that made me puke.)
Fortunately, the place was better than it actually sounded.
Yes, I admit that I did go to Minnewater after all. I stumbled on it when I was making my way to the Nun's quarters and couldn't tear my eyes away from the beauty of that place. The canalised lake, the swans, the stately trees and green grass made an appealing picture. Best of all, it was unusually quiet and it provided me a little respite from the madding crowd.
Hard to believe, but this nice little place was part of a busy inner harbour many years ago. Today, swans peacefully drift on what once was a chaotic waterline...
To find peace and tranquility in a rather busy city, you need only to meander over to MINNEWATER or LOVE LAKE as it is affectionately known. There you will find swans gliding across the glass-like still waters of the lake.
In the accompanying photo, the Kasteel Restaurant Minnewater overlooks the Lake. Note the lovely terrace of this restaurant. Looks so romantic.
The Minneswater is a charming and romantic spot. It is widely referred to as the "Lake of Love", "Liebessee", "Lac d'Armour" etc., which is an incorrect, but more interesting translation for the tourists.
The Lake of Love is located by the Minnewater park and is beautiful, with the trees and green hanging around it, it a completley different picture from what you see of canal views in the city.
Apparantley the name is a mistranslation of the earlier name for this water. This once served as a port! The Binnewater where ships and barges loaded and unloaded cargo during the 13th century.*