This is Belgium.
11.5 M. population with 3 languages…..Flemish (Flanders), French and German. Protestant with king since1831.
In 1st WW it became an important base for German submarines….that sunk 2357 ships.
9th C was the beginning for Bruges. 9, 10 & 11 c. Port 3 miles from centre of Brugge. The waterways became silted up but after terrible storm (the worst in 1000 years) it cleaned out a channel to the city and so they once again had access.
They started the 1st stock exchange in the 14th C. In the 15 century they developed a banking system that is still used today. Up until 19th century the city was very rich but in the 19C it became poor with 50% unemployed. That lead to the development of lace industry. And diamonds amongst other industries. It became the 1st diamond centre in the world.
Unemployment in Brugge now only 2-2.5%. The city is only 3sq mile but 8 million visitors come every year. It is the most important distribution centre for cars …,3 million cars per year go through the port pre COVID. Did you know that China now owns Volvo? 1700 different beers are produced here in Belgium. They have a beer pipeline to outside city to bottle because there is no room inside the city. And of course, the famous Belgian chocolates.
The city is surrounded by a canal. At one time there was a population of 45,000 but it is now only 18,000. It is the biggest gothic style city in world.
One of city centre was a fish market. It was decreed that you must eat fish 150 days a year. If you were found to have had 3 times meat in a week, you were decapitated right there in the market place.
Besides walking around this most incredible medieval city ever, we took a canal boat ride….wow!