Europe, Belgium, Flanders

Bruges, the Venice of the North

No Comments 6 August 2010

Bruges, the Venice of the North

From its medieval architecture and influence, to its canals, the Belgian city of Bruges is something of a cousin to Italy’s Venice. The Monkey spent a day wandering around Bruges back in 2002.

Bruges, Belgium
Bruges, in northwestern Belgium, is a marvel of a city. It has been called the “Venice of the North” due to its system of canals and bridges. Before Antwerp’s rise to prominence in the 16th Century, Bruges (along with Ghent) was the most important trading center in Northern Europe. The quality and quantity of the city’s products generated considerable wealth and attracted traders from no less than 20 countries and kingdoms.

Here, the Monkey enjoys a sunny May Day in Bruges at a spot by the canal called the Rozenhoedkaai. The towering 80 meter belfry directly behind him is home to a carillon of 47 bells weighing more than 27 tons!

Church, Bruges, Belgium
The Monkey poses by another Bruges canal, with the 13th to 15th Century Church of Our Lady in the background. Its spire soars to 122 meters, and its art collection includes a Michelangelo sculpture.

Markt, Bruges, Belgium
The Monkey rests by the rain washed cobblestones of Bruges’ Markt, or main square. In the distance above the market stalls are one of the signature sights of Bruges: a row of old stepped gable houses. At the right you can see some of the Bruges City Hall, which dates from the 14th and 15th Centuries when Bruges was at its economic height.

Canal, Bruges, Belgium
The Monkey suns himself by another of Bruges’ tranquil canals.

Bruges, Belgium
The Monkey takes in alternate view of one of the waterways in Bruges.

This Monkey adventure has been viewed 1292 times since the 2010 website relaunch.



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10,403,951 (2008)

Land area:

30,278 sq. km.


Brussels (pop. 949,070; 2005)


In 2006, Belgium ranked 9th in the UNDP Human Development Index and 18th in total GDP, with a per capita GDP of $37,384.34. Public debt accounts for 84.6 percent of total GDP, while 15.2 percent of Belgians are beneath the poverty line.

Main language(s):

Dutch (Flemish), French

Monkey's name:

Aap, Le Singe

Fun fact:

Of all Belgium’s famous comics, no character is more famous than Tintin. The comic showcased the adventures of the journalist Tintin and his trusty dog Snowy as they travelled to exotic places from the Tibet and the Yucatán to the surface of the moon, exploring and solving crimes along the way. Penned and drawn by Belgian artist Hergé, the series first appeared in newspapers in 1929 and later expanded to books. One measure of Tintin’s popularity is the fact that his books have been translated into over 60 languages worldwide.

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