Welcome to Bruges!
The historical town centre of Bruges (recognized by Unesco as a world heritage site) is intersected by the famous canals and boasts numerous monumental buildings, all located within a stone's throw from each other. Thanks to its picturesque and romantic medieval setting, Bruges has been an international top destination for many years now.
But there is more to be found behind the historical facades. Bruges has an extensive cultural offer. The paintings by the Flemish Primitives and the cultural and immaterial heritage bear witness to a rich history, but this city also looks to the future with ambition. Bruges has also given a modern twist to the traditional ‘Burgundian’ lifestyle, which means that the eating and drinking options are endless. Bruges enjoys an incredible gastronomic reputation, as is demonstrated by the numerous stars awarded to our chefs and restaurants and by the many mentions in respected publications.
Bruges is ambitious and progressive. The easily accessible international port of Zeebrugge is an important economic factor for the city. Fully committed to supporting innovation and sustainability, this port produces electricity by harnessing wind energy. And this drive for innovation is readily apparent in other sectors as well. The Sports Innovation Campus, for instance, conducts practice-oriented research into innovation in sports and into encouraging physical exercise among the wider population. Their research is supported by educational establishments and the higher authority.
Cycling is an environment-friendly and easily accessible form of exercise. To encourage bicycle riding, this city has chosen to invest in several well thought-out bicycle facilities, such as guarded underground bicycle garages and public bicycle pumps. The green belt around the city offers perfect cycling conditions. In recent years, numerous cycle paths, bridges and tunnels have been built in order to create new, safe bicycle links. Similar projects are planned for the next few years, such as the establishment of the 7 km club and the construction of new bicycle super highways. The city is also involved in several international collaborations allowing the exchange of ideas and good practices.
But apart from recreational and functional cycling, cycle racing also has its place in this city. The Eleven Cities Tour, a semi-classic race created at the beginning of the 20th century, was modernized in 2017 after a long break. The Three Days Bruges-De Panne will bring the departures of two World Tour contests (ladies and men’s elite) to the majestic Market Square. For 19 years, until 2016, the Tour of Flanders also departed from this square. The growing popularity of women’s cycling has also brought the Lotto Belgium Tour to Bruges since 2020.
Cycling and cycle races are immensely popular in Bruges, just like football. Bruges has two teams in the first national division, including reigning champion Club Brugge. The World cycling championships 2021 will be the perfect occasion for the inhabitants of Bruges to enjoy their passion of sports and at the same time display their world-famous hospitality. The battle for the rainbow jerseys in the time trials not only promises to be a highlight in the cycling calendar, but also a unique experience for both locals and visitors alike.
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Pictures: © Jan D'hondt