Bruges, Belgium – 2017 International Finalist
Bruges is located in the north west of Belgium and it’s bordered by the north sea. The city is the capital of the province west-vlaanderen and there are more than 117.000 inhabitants.
The total area of Bruges can be divided into 3 major parts. 50% of the land use is nature, woods and open agricultural land. 30% of the area is built landscape. The final 20 % is space for economical development, infrastructure and industry and mainly in the north of the city, the sea-port of Bruges.
The city of Bruges owns 786 hectare of free public space. The open space exists out of parks for example, sport areas, woods, cemeteries, playgrounds and so on.
About this landscape we recognize 5 main types of landscape. From the north to the south these are: the coastline with the beach and sanddunes with a nature reserve of 22 hectares.
The landscape of the seaport is made up by industry and infrastructure. Nevertheless there’s attention and action to introduce biodiversity. The seaport is an international hub where more than 16.000 people are working every day.
Next to the port are the polders. This dutch word means low lying open agricultural land and it’s well known for its typical vegetation of rows of poplar trees, hedges and orchards.
In the south there are forests and heath fields. The city is creating a green belt around the centre by connecting the different green areas.
And last but not least, the medieval city centre, contains more than 55 hectares of green space on a total of 483 hectares. That’s more than one out of ten. The former fortifications around the centre are 8km long. They form the inner green belt.
Bruges is a cultural treasure with more than 1000 years of history. With four UNESCO world heritage accreditations the city is very proud on the built and natural landscape. It was once the birthplace of the first stock exchange and in one of the 26 museums you can see some masterpieces of the Flemish Primitives.
Bruges is pleased with the accreditation of the beguinage. The belfry tower was recognized in 1999 and the whole medieval town in 2000. About the oral and intangible heritage the procession of the holy blood was recognized in 2009. It’s one of the oldest religious procession in Europe. It takes place in Bruges every year since 1255.
In 2002 , Bruges was the cultural capital of Europe; it gave a great boost at the cultural life. Since then there’s a new modern concert hall on one of the main squares of the town.
Bruges is a vibrant city with a great offer on festivals, sport activities like cycling or soccer and cultural events. Sometimes these events are a dramatization of a historic event such as the procession of the holy blood.
Due to an independent research by the Flemish government and Ghent university between 13 major cities in Flandres some remarkable results appear. In this research no less than 79.9% of the inhabitants are satisfied with the general appearance of the city, the public parks, monuments and buildings.
And more than 86 % of the citizens are positive about the liveability of their neighbourhood and city. This percentage is 10 % above the Flemish average.
The city of Bruges therefore continuously invests in city life in order to maintain the high quality of life in Bruges in the future.
URL : http://www.brugge.be