Bruges In Belgium Hits A Red Line For Summertime Tourists; ‘Need No More Tourists!’ Say Locals

by Shreya Rathod

Thinking of gingerbread houses, canals and European bars, the only place that comes to our mind is Bruges. Located in Flanders, Belgium, the place has enjoyed city status since the 12th century. In fact, it is one of the most popular places in Europe. Recently, the locals of the city had enough of the tourists, and have hit a red line!

Bruges Hits A Red Line With Summertime Tourists!


Credits: Canva

The residents of Bruges, a city of canals and cobblestones in Belgium, are clear that summer tourism has reached its capacity. Arnout Goegebuer, a 55-year-old architect, stated that the crowded outdoor patio from inside a cafe and declares that it has really reached a red line now. He further asserts that they don’t need more tourists any longer — maybe a little bit less is required.

The sentiment is shared by 119,000 other people in the western city. The city receives eight million visitors annually, most of whom come for day trips and are concentrated in the summer. The locals are not against tourism because it generates income, prestige, and employment. However, they assert that it must be balanced to prevent the city from transforming into a Disneyfied open-air museum.

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The City Is Returning To Pre-Pandemic Levels


Credits: Canva

Kurt Van Der Pieter, a 62-year-old retiree who has spent his whole life in the city, claims that Bruges tourism is returning to pre-pandemic levels. This includes cruise ships docking in the adjacent Zeebrugge port and ejecting tourists who stay only a few hours. And there’s a lot of trouble for the residents! He even claims that people of Bruges say it’s too much, in fact, very much on some days.

The circumstance is not exclusive to Bruges. Venice and Amsterdam, two of Europe’s premier historical canal cities, have recently taken action to forbid cruise ships from stopping. When UNESCO proposed that Venice be added to its endangered list due to over-tourism and other issues, the city received a wake-up call.

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In a survey of the most congested European locations based on the ratio of tourists named Holidu, Venice, Bruges, and the Greek island of Rhodes tied for second place.

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva