Now just because it’s April, doesn’t mean that it isn’t going to snow!
In Europe, we’re getting all kinds of weather.
One minute it’s a sunny Spring morning.
The next, it’s freezing!
In fact, as I write this piece, it’s snowing.
Where have you been?
If you’re just joining, here’s really what you missed:
- How I went to 8 wonderful countries, got heaps of expat awards, was on radio with the BBC, & met Prince William in 2017!
- How I can afford a life of travel. Don’t choose. Live a life of style!
- How to get German citizenship if you’re British – How to be a German via Double Nationality!
- Hamburg: An Introduction to a Port City!
- My fourth FAM / Press Trip to Hamburg – Holy Hamburg!
- A Beginners’ Guide to the Berlinale / The Berlin International Film Festival 2018. Or any other Film Festival!!
- A first time beginners’ guide to the ITB Berlin: 10 tips to help you prepare. Bam!
- Ryanair – A no-frills budget airline. Is it worth the plunge?
What an exciting first quarter of the year I’ve had!
As you know, The British Berliner is not only a British – German in name, but on paper too.
Yep! Victoria now has Dual Nationality.
I’ve written a fantastic post (even if I say so myself) on what you need to do if you’re British, and looking to obtain EU nationality too.
I’m still British of course, but I’m German too.
And isn’t that something!
One of the merits of living in Germany, is the ease in which one can travel through the Continent.
And one of those ways is by flying!
This time around, I decided to take him to Bruges.
But did I tell you that I flew there.
Via a budget airline.
And not just any airline mind you.
Where to start?
Belgium, otherwise known as the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in the Western part of Europe, unlike Croatia which is in the Balkans, Latvia which is in Central Europe or Poland which is in the Eastern part of Europe!
It’s a very small country and has a population of just eleven (11) million people!
Culturally, Belgium is Dutch-speaking (59%), French-speaking (40%), and if it couldn’t get more complicated, German-speaking (1%) too!
The Dutch-speakers tend to be Flemish and live in a region called the Flanders, the French-speakers are Walloon, and the German-speakers are the minority, who live around the borders of Belgium close to Germany!
Belgium is, like Switzerland, officially bilingual being Flemish (Dutch-speaking) and French, and known as being from the Low Countries, or the Benelux group of states, consisting of Northern France, West Germany, Holland, Luxembourg and Belgium itself.
Belgium is a most important nation as it’s one of the six (6) founding countries of the European Union (EU), hosts the official seats of the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, as well as a seat of the European Parliament in the country’s capital, Brussels.
Belgium is also a founding member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD, and WTO, a part of the trilateral Benelux Union and the Schengen Area.
Belgium has had trouble with terrorism in the last few years, as have many other European countries, but it’s a developed country, with an advanced high-income economy, very high standards of living, friendly locals, interesting food, and is relatively safe and peaceful!
A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY…
Belgium was a Roman province known as Gallia Belgica and was a prosperous centre of business, commerce, trade and culture from the Middle Ages, right up to the 17th century. During this period, Belgium became prosperous, and participated in the colonization of the African continent.
During the Belgian Revolution in 1830, Belgium spilt away from Holland, and became independent in its own right. However, Belgium also became the “Battlefield of Europe, ” was occupied by Germany in WWI and WWII, as well as 20th century tensions between the Dutch and French-speaking parts of Belgium, leading to a sort of federal state, controversial language laws, and a distinct type of separatism around the Flemish region.
Having said that, Belgium has seen the flourishing of major artistic movements that have had great influence on European art and culture, with architecture and paintings being especially astounding, and historically relevant.
One of those places is Bruges.
Bruges, otherwise known as Brugge (Dutch) or Bruges (French), is the capital and largest city of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium!
Bruges has a mass of roughly 13,840 hectares and 1,075 hectares off the coast, at Zeebrugge, otherwise known as Brugge aan zee or “Bruges by the Sea.”
It has a population of 117,073, of which about 20,000 people live in the city centre.
The beautiful historic city centre is a UNSECO World Heritage Site and is roughly 430 hectares in size.
Bruges was first mentioned as Bruggas, Brvggas, and Brvccia (in 840–875), then as Bruciam, Bruociam (in 892), Brutgis uico (at the end of the 9th century), Bruggensi (1010), Bruggis (1012), Bricge (1037, in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle), Brugensis (1046), Brycge (1049–1052), Brugias (1072), Bruges (1080–1085), Bruggas (1084), Brugis (1089), and Brugge (1116)!
Bruges is derived from the Old Dutch word for bridge – brugga. But some experts say it could also be from Middle Dutch – brucge, brugge, brugghe, brigghe, bregghe, brogghe, Southern Dutch – brugghe. Perhaps even from the Anglo-Saxon word – brugjō – which later became known as the word bridge!
Because I love to spend all my time rambling!
Belgium does that for you.
Our beautiful 4-star hotel – Martin’s Relais was right next to the canal. In fact, it’s historical name is Oud Huis Amsterdam – and between you and me, the view is very much like being in Holland!
Without the seedy bits!
I take visiting museums quite seriously, and was delighted to be able to work in partnership with Musea Brugge, who very kindly gave us complimentary museum passes.
Thank you so much!
So without further ado, here are the museums and galleries that I recommend:
- The Groeningemuseum: We both absolutely loved this museum of 16th century Flemish paintings. In fact, it was one of our favourites!
- The Arenthuis: We only had time to sprint through the collections of prints and drawings, but if you have a ticket for the Groeningemuseum, you can visit the Arenthuis for free!
- The Friet Museum / Fries Museum: We very much enjoyed discovering and learning all about the history of the Belgian chip. As well as sampling it too!
- The Belfort: The Belfry Tower is over 83 metres tall and will give you fantastic views over the city
- The Hisotrium Brugge: An interactive virtual reality tour of medieval Bruges. We didn’t have enough time to do this. It’s a bit pricey, but kids will love it!
- The Choco-Story / Chocolate Museum : I don’t like chocolate, but I was almost tempted to go on a Choco-Story tour of Bruges. Almost, but not quite! However, if you’re a fan of chocolate, don’t let me stop you!
- The Stadhuis / City Hall: The Bruges’ City Hall is one of the oldest in the country and has been around for more than 600 years!
- The Volkskundemuseum / Museum of Folk Life: This museum has a collection of eight (8) 17th century buildings depicting the way Flemish people used to live, as well as a collection of puppets. I really wanted to visit this museum as I love museums of ethnology, but I forgot!
- The Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-Ter-Potterie (O.L.V.-Ter-Potterie) / Our Lady of the Pottery: This museum is a baroque church as well as a historical hospital dating back from the 13th – 17th century! If you’re into exquisite silver collections, tapestries and stained-glass windows, then this is the place for you!
OTHER MUSEUMS & GALLERIES:
- The Brugge Vrjie / Liberty of Bruges: It wasn’t what we expected. Firstly, the lone member of staff was quite grumpy, and secondly, apart from the beautiful 16th century wood, marble, and alabaster fireplace known as the Emperor Charles V fireplace, there was nothing much to see!
- The Gruuthusemusem: Please note that it’s closed until 2019!
- The Archeologiemuseum / Archeological Museum
- Gentpoort /Gate of Ghent
- The Gezellemuseum
- Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk (O.L.V.-Kerk) / Museum of the Church of Our Lady
- Sint-JansHospitaal / Saint John’s Hospital
- Sint-Janshuismolen / Saint-Janshuis Mill
Having said that, most of the Bruges museum collection is interesting, historical, and at the same time, perfectly contemporary!
Bruges is a city of history and culture, and since I like Old Art and architectural treasures very much my type of city.
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO BRUGES. IN BELGIUM!
This article isn’t sponsored, and even though we received complimentary museum passes from Musea Brugge, absolutely all opinions, and the great time that we had, are my very own!
I went to Belgium. Find out more, next week!
I’ll be continuing my last visit to the UK and telling you all about it, later in the season!
Can you guess which one it’ll be?
If you’re not in Berlin in April, you’re going to miss all the fun!
April is going to be blooming!
See you next week!
Watch this space!
Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.
I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!
Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!
A win-win for all!
Thanks a million!