Museums for all
The Belgians claim to be the inventors of ‘frietjes’ (chips) and in Bruges there is a specific museum dedicated to them, the Frietmuseum. However, if looking for something more sophisticated, we can pay a visit to the Diamond Museum and see if diamonds really are such good friends as Marilyn once sang!
Today the city continues to be called the ‘Venice of the North’. However, Bruges has its own identity: its neighbourhoods and canals, its bridges and narrow cobbled streets, its architecture that appears to be frozen in time, like halfway up the Belfry Tower…Above all it is the perfect destination for those seeking a romantic getaway, the picture-perfect postcard or, if given the choice, eternal love. Bruges has all three.
Back on solid land, just a few minutes from the centre is Minnewater, or as hopeless romantics call it, the Lake of Love. This nickname comes from the forbidden love between the young maiden Minna and Stromberg. Pressured to marry a man she didn’t love, she decided to escape. They say that when Stromberg found her, Minna died in his arms and he built a dam to drain the river and bury his love, who rests eternally under the waters of Minnewater Lake. These are not the only ones to carry a legend with them: the swans of the lake also have their own. It is said that the city of Bruges ordered one of its administrators, Pieter Lanchals (Lanchals means ‘long neck’), to be executed and that the city’s population was punished by being sentenced to feed the swans of the lake for eternity. Anyone who crosses the bridge today can still fulfil this sentence, although not enforced anymore. Another, more recent legend says that if you feed the swans as a couple you are guaranteed eternal love. Can you handle more romanticism? If so, there is nothing quite like having dinner next to the lake at the Maximiliaan Van Oostenrijk restaurant.