Tips on Bruges Museum Scene

by Thomas Burtonelli

Bruges, Belgium is a cultured city off the beaten path. At least it was until a hilarious movie came out. In Bruges changed all that. While visitors will have a hard time finding movie stars, the city offers a bevy of cultural locations that are worth visiting.

The first thing you notice about the city is also one of the oddest. It is packed solid with museums, perhaps more than you find in any other city per square foot. If you love history and museums, Bruges is the place to be. This is particularly true for the historic old town.

Love museums? A small sampling of the best in Bruges includes the Groeninge, Memling, Archeological, Gruuthuse and Folklore Museums as well as the Renaissance Hall. There are many more niche oriented museums as well. You just have to walk five feet to find new ones.

The days of cobblers are largely past, but not at the Folklore Museum. Home to a 17th century almshouse still owned by the local cobblers association, you can view cobbler studios, Flemish homes and other items at this museum. It is like looking back through time.

Love art with a local twist? The Groeninge Museum is the place to visit. It is a fine arts gallery packed with works from well known local artists. They include people such as Jan Van Eyck, Memling, and Gerard David.

Like a little kick in your adult beverage? How about spicy beer? If so, the place to go is the Gruuthuse Museum. It was a family owned spice beer brewery that was legendary in the medieval period. It will give you an entirely new perspective on the idea of BYOB.

If you are considered a great artist, you will often get your own museum. Such is the fortune of Hans Memling. An influential Flemish painter, he has the Memling Museum all to himself for the most part and it is worth a trip if you admire his work.

Personally, I prefer to walk through history. If you feel the same, the Renaissance Hall is worth a visit. It takes you back to daily life in 16th century Bruges. This was the period of the Renaissance, so it is an interesting experience.

Lastly, the Archaeological Museum is a perfect example of how life used to be in Bruges. Bits of glass, leather, metal, wood, and stone are showcased inside of this grand hall. Additionally, tourists will be treated to a fine display of murals from a variety of periods.

The beauty of Bruges, Belgium is multi-faceted. Museums are definitely high on the list of things to see, but it is a friendly city worth just strolling around in and definitely worth a visit on your travels.

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