Historic Centre of Brugge

Historic Centre of Brugge

Brugge is an outstanding example of a medieval historic settlement, which has maintained its historic fabric as this has evolved over the centuries, and where original Gothic constructions form part of the town's identity. As one of the commercial and cultural capitals of Europe, Brugge developed cultural links to different parts of the world. It is closely associated with the school of Flemish Primitive painting.

Le centre historique de Bruges

Bruges est un exemple exceptionnel d'habitat médiéval ayant bien conservé son tissu urbain historique tel qu'il a évolué avec les siècles et où le bâti gothique d'origine fait partie de l'identité de la ville. Bruges, l'une des capitales commerciales et culturelles européennes, a tissé des liens culturels avec différentes parties du monde. On associe cette cité à l'Ecole de peinture des Primitifs flamands.

وسط بروج التاريخي

تعطي مدينة بروج مثلاً إستثنائياً عن نمط السكن السائد في القرون الوسطى والذي حافظ جيداً على نسيجه الحضري التاريخي في تطوره عبر القرون بحيث أصبح البناء القوطي الأصلي جزءاً لا يتجزأ من هوية المدينة. وقد أرست بروج، التي تُعتبر إحدى العواصم التجارية والثقافية في أوروبا، علاقات ثقافية مع مناطق مختلفة من العالم. وغالباً ما تُربط هذه المدينة بمدرسة الرسم للفنانين الفلمنديين البدائيين.

source: UNESCO/ERI

布鲁日历史中心

布鲁日是中世纪人类聚落的杰出典范,虽历经数世纪沧桑,仍保留着大量历史建筑。在那里,早期哥特式建筑已经成为城市特征的一部分。作为欧洲商业与文化首都之一,布鲁日不断发展与世界各地的文化交流,同时,与佛兰芒原始绘画流派(Flemish Primitive painting)有着密切关系。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Исторический центр города Брюгге

Брюгге – это яркий пример средневекового поселения, которое хорошо сохранило свою многовековую историческую застройку, в которой подлинные готические строения представляют важнейшую часть своеобразия города. Как одна из торговых и культурных столиц Европы, Брюгге развивал культурные связи с различными районами мира. Город был тесно связан с формированием фламандской школы живописи.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Centro histórico de Brujas

La ciudad de Brujas es un ejemplo excepcional de asentamiento humano medieval que ha conservado su tejido urbano histórico tal como ha ido evolucionando a lo largo de los siglos. Sus construcciones góticas primigenias forman parte de la identidad de esta capital comercial y cultural de la antigua Europa, que estableció vínculos culturales con distintas partes del mundo. El nombre de Brujas está estrechamente unido a la escuela de pintura de los primitivos flamencos.

source: UNESCO/ERI

ブリュージュ歴史地区
ベルギー北部の古都。1180年までフランドルの首都。ブルッヘともいう。毛織物工業と織物取引の中心地で、その巨大な利益から13~14世紀には西欧有数の商業都市として君臨した。救世主大聖堂、聖母聖堂など多くの聖堂建築、市場と高さ80mの鐘塔、市庁舎など、ゴシック様式の建築がほぼ完全に残されている。15世紀にブルゴーニュ公の宮廷が置かれて最盛期を迎え、この擁護のもとに多くの画家が活躍する舞台ともなった。

source: NFUAJ

Historisch centrum van Brugge

Brugge is een mooi voorbeeld van een middeleeuwse nederzetting die zijn historische vorm heeft behouden in de loop van de eeuwen, waarbij de oorspronkelijke, gotische constructies deel uitmaken van de identiteit van de stad. De historische binnenstad laat zien waardoor de architectuur beïnvloed werd. Zoals de baksteengotiek en innovatieve, artistieke invloeden van middeleeuwse schilderkunst zoals de Vlaamse Primitieven. Brugge geldt als de geboorteplaats van deze schilderschool waarvan kunstenaars als Jan van Eyck en Hans Memling deel uitmaken. Mede hierom werd Brugge een van de commerciële en culturele hoofdsteden van Europa met culturele banden over de hele wereld.

Source: unesco.nl

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Historic Centre of Brugge (Belgium) © OUR PLACE The World Heritage Collection
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

The Historic Centre of Brugge is an outstanding example of an architectural ensemble, illustrating significant stages in the commercial and cultural fields in medieval Europe.

Brugge in medieval times was known as a commercial metropolis in the heart of Europe.

The city reflects a considerable exchange of influences on the development of art and architecture, particularly in brick Gothic, which is characteristic of northern Europe and the Baltic. This architecture strongly determines the character of the historic centre of the city.

The 1th century city walls marked the boundaries of the medieval city. Although the walls themselves are lost today, they remain clearly visible, emphasized by the four surviving gates, the ramparts and one of the defence water towers. The medieval street pattern, with main roads leading towards the important public squares, has mostly been preserved, as well as the network of canals which, once used for mercantile traffic, played an important role in the development of the city.

In the 15th century, Brugge was the cradle of the Flemish Primitives and a centre of patronage and painting development for artists such as Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling. Many of their works were exported and influenced painting styles all over Europe. Exceptionally important collections have remained in the city until today.

Even after its economic and artistic peak at the end of the Middle Ages, building and urban development continued, although Brugge mostly missed the 19th-century industrial revolution. In the 18th and 19th centuries, many medieval parcels were joined to larger entities and new quarters were also developed. The most striking examples of large scale post-medieval interventions in the historic centre are the urbanization around Coupure (1751-1755), the Zand and the first railway station (1838), the Theatre quarter (1867), the Koningin Elisabethlaan and Gulden Vlieslaan (1897) and the creation of the Guido Gezelle-neighbourhood (1920-1930).

In the second half of the 20th century, some major changes occurred with Zilverpand (1976), the new Public Library (1975-1978), the new Palace of Justice and Kartuizerswijk (1980), Clarendam (1990) and Colettijnenhof (1997).

Brugge is characterized by a continuity reflected in the relative harmony of changes. As part of this continuity, the late 19th century renovation of facades introduced a Neo-Gothic style that is particular for Brugge. The Brugge ‘neo’ style of construction and its restoration philosophy became a subject of interest, study and inspiration.

Still an active, living city today, Brugge has preserved the architectural and urban structures which document the different phases of its development including the central Market Place with its belfry, the Béguinage, as well as the hospitals, the religious and commercial complexes and the historic urban fabric. 

Criterion (ii): The Historic Centre of Brugge bears testimony to a considerable exchange of influences on the development of architecture, and particularly brick Gothic architecture, over a long period of time. As the birthplace of the school of the Flemish Primitives, it has favoured innovative artistic influences in the development of medieval painting.

Criterion (iv): The Historic Centre of Brugge is an outstanding example of an architectural ensemble. The city’s public, social and religious institutions illustrate significant stages in the history of commerce and culture in medieval Europe

Criterion (vi): The Historic Centre of Brugge was birthplace of the Flemish Primitives and a centre of patronage and development of painting in the Middle Ages with artists such as Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling. 

Authenticity

The Historic Centre of Brugge illustrates continuity on an urban site that has been occupied since the early Middle Ages. Historical records of the town administration and regulations are condensed in the city records from the 13th century onwards.

An area of continuous settlement, the Historic Centre of Brugge has retained the original pattern of streets and places, canals, and open spaces. A very specific skyline of towers and taller civic buildings (such as the cathedral, the belfry and the churches) dominates the city. For the most part, buildings have retained the original parcels of land. The transformations that have taken place over time respect the functional changes in the town, and have become part of its historic authenticity, in a parallel way to other historic cities such as Siena in Italy.

The history of the town is well represented in the urban and architectural structures that harmoniously unify all periods of history since the origin of the city.

Since the second half of the 19th century, much attention has been paid to the history and the architecture of the town, and major debates about modalities followed the international trends in the field of restoration and conservation. This chronological and historical stratification is clearly recognizable in the urban morphology and architecture and is part of the present character of Brugge.

Some modern transformations have occurred in the property, but their impact on the whole property is considered minor. 

Integrity

The overall urban structure still represents the medieval “egg-shaped” model that can be seen on the map of Marcus Gerards (1562). Apart from the religious wars in the 16th century and the French Revolution, Brugge more or less escaped the devastation associated with other conflicts that marked this part of Europe, including the First and Second World Wars. Similarly, the 19thcentury industrial revolution had almost no impact on the basic structure of the historic town, with the exception of the railway station in the southwest of the city.

The property includes all urban structures, associated ensembles and individual buildings that reflect its commercial and artistic development and the legacy of 19th century restoration philosophies.

The remarkable visual coherence that characterises its urban form is vulnerable to rebuilding. Large-scale development in proximity to the property could adversely impact the relationship between the property and its setting. 

Protection and management requirements

Since 1972, the municipal Department for Conservation and Heritage Management guides evaluates and closely monitors all changes in the urban environment, in collaboration with the regional heritage services. The specific municipal building regulations are very strict and include a non modificandi agreement when city funding is provided to carry out restoration works.

Around half of all buildings within the historic centre are either listed or registered in the Flemish inventory of Built Heritage and in the city’s Heritage Evaluation Map (a dynamic instrument), which serves as a policy and management tool. In the case of listed buildings and sites, there is a mandatory and binding advice from the regional heritage authorities.

The coordination, communication and promotion of the World Heritage property is taken up as before by the municipal Department for Conservation and Heritage Management, in close collaboration with all partners on municipal and regional level.

Conservation and restoration of monuments and sites is based on a restoration philosophy and tradition in which the original materials and construction technique are the starting point. New constructions in the inner city never occur without a thorough art-historical evaluation and always respect the historical authenticity. As a rule, new constructions respect parcelling, pattern, heights, materials etc. of the surroundings. Large-scale developments in proximity of the property remain a possible threat and therefore require particular attention.

As a result, a World Heritage Management Plan was made in 2012, coordinated by the city of Brugge and its Department for Conservation and Heritage Management, which is a team of specialists qualified in the history of art, the history of Bruges in general and restoration philosophy and practice. This Management Plan aims to foster appropriate development within agreed constraints in relation to the acknowledged characteristics of defined areas. A UNESCO Expert Commission was set up by the city council in 2011, supported the development of a Management Plan in 2012 and continues to provide advice.  

In continuation of the Management Plan, Conservation Plans are being prepared, as well as Preservation Plans, Detailed Survey Plans and a Thematic Spatial Implementation Plan for the historic urban landscape, covering the whole World Heritage property.

Historically and typologically, the city is home to a mixture of functions. This diversity is an essential urban feature that needs to be preserved and protected. This element, along with the historical urban structure and the specific and diverse architectural characteristics that reflect the evolution of Brugge, are at the essence of the future management of the property. However, Brugge is a living city, in which developments and changes should be possible but only in appropriate locations and with respect for the urban morphology of closed urban plots limited by streets and laneways in the historic centre.

Expansion is possible in the greater Brugge region, which historically and politically was linked with the city (“Brugs Ommeland”, or the surroundings of Brugge) and Zeebrugge (the seaport of Brugge). In order to protect the setting of the property, effective links between the interests of this wider city of Brugge and the property, in terms of planning and protection, are needed and in progress. Important views from and to the property need to be protected and will be incorporated in the urban planning tools.

From a touristic point of view, Brugge has made considerable efforts to manage the impact of visitors. The development of durable cultural tourism of high quality will continue to remain the basis of the municipal policy in this regard, with a specific attention to events and activities related to the Flemish Primitives.