Sustainable tourism in Bruges
We no longer need to illustrate that tourism is subject to rapid changes. Visit Bruges also chose a new story for tourism that anticipates the permanent driving forces behind these successive changes. The corona epidemic did not make us deviate from our path, but caused more of an acceleration. In Bruges’ new story we wholeheartedly choose not for ‘more’ but for ‘better’. A positive and lasting story that we create with you, our visitor, but also with our inhabitants and entrepreneurs.
On policy level as well, Bruges gives priority to sustainability. The project ‘Zorgen voor Morgen’ ("Taking care of tomorrow") combines all sustainable city initiatives and cooperates with the people of Bruges on a climate plan.
Visit Bruges works around the central question of what tourism can mean for Bruges and no longer what the city can do for tourism. In our mission, based on 4 of the 17 durable development goals of the United Nations, tourism in Bruges contributes in a durable way to the wellbeing of its inhabitants, entrepreneurs and visitors. On this page we collected some examples of durable initiatives in the area of:
In Bruges different steps are being taken to offer food and drinks in a sustainable way. One example is Billie Cups: reusable coffee cups for which customers pay one Euro deposit, the latter being reimbursed upon returning the cup. Today there are already eight catering businesses in the Bruges city centre which use this cup: Cafuné, That’s Toast, Dumon Chocolatier, KarmaMarkt, Postbar, Brazilia, Otto Waffle Atelier and Tonka. Furthermore there are many businesses in the city where you can use your own reusable cup.
With its many chocolatiers, Bruges is known as a chocolate paradise. But did you know Bruges also has its own sustainable city chocolate? Sjokla (Bruges dialect for chocolate) is a collaboration between the city of Bruges and the Guild of Bruges Chocolatiers and guarantees a sustainable chocolate chain. Fair prices for the cacao farmer and pure craftsmanship by our local artisanal chocolatiers!
Shopping responsibly and choosing environmentally friendly, local businesses is becoming increasingly popular. More and more people are opting for sustainable shopping. In Bruges, fair fashion is on the increase, too. COSH! puts the shops in Bruges with a sustainable product range on the map.
Bruges is full of passionate and highly motivated creative spirits, who day after day prove that craftsmanship has a future and that Bruges’ craftsmanship is timeless. Modern-day artisans who produce their wares locally and by hand are recognized with the award of the Handmade in Bruges label. The Handmade in Bruges guide (available in Dutch, French, German and English and available for free from the tourist offices) bundles together these ‘makers of things’, putting them both literally and figuratively on the map, allowing you to find your way with ease to one of their many stores or workshops selling handmade goods. And once you are there, you are almost certain to leave with an original, handmade gift – either for yourself or for your family and friends at home.
Green Key is a worldwide quality label that highlights sustainable travel, meetings and relaxation. If you stay with a Green Key holder, you can be sure the planet benefits, without you having to reduce on comfort or affordability. In Bruges there are no less than nine lodgings with the Green Key label: Bariseele, Eco Hotel Fevery, Crowne Plaza Brugge, Hotel Heritage, Snuffel vzw, NH Hotel Brugge, Radisson Blu Hotel Brugge, Martin’s Brugge Oude Burg and Martin’s Relais.
Bruges makes many efforts to create a sustainable city. As part of the City of Bruges, the Visit Bruges Convention Office cooperates wholeheartedly in this matter, to make sure your congress can enjoy the green character of the city.
The most sustainable means of transport to discover the city remains the bicycle and this is also promoted by the city. Such are the Blue Bikes at the railway station and different bicycle rental points in the city, there is even bicycle friendly lodging. Bicycle enthusiasts can not only indulge in the city. Also the surroundings of Bruges are perfect for memorable cycling tours by means of the cycling junction network.
Bruges has a rich religious heritage and does everything to manage it and play it out as sustainable as possible. So there is the project Sacred Books | Secret Libraries which allows small groups to visit the still inhabited English Convent and the Carmelite Monastery with a guide. Certain sites, such as the Magdalene Church, have been given another purpose. Moreover, the Magadalene Church is one of the acknowledged candidates for the accompaniment Visit Flandres Heritage Venues.
The seaside town of Zeebrugge also strives just as Bruges to be a sustainable destination. The beach of Zeebrugge can proudly call itself a Blue Flag beach. Beaches with the Blue Flag label differentiate themselves on the level of awareness and education, quality of the water, eco- and sustainability management and safety, service and accessibility.
Throughout the year, various sustainable events are being organised in Bruges. The best example of this is undoubtedly ‘Heerlijk Brugge’, a friendly festival packed full of sustainable treats in the Koningin Astridpark (Queen Astrid Park). Workshops, demonstrations, food battles, kids' activities, the many stands at the farmers' market, and a meal or brunch will allow you to both literally and figuratively find out what the city has to offer when it comes to sustainable food.