Foreign visitors find their way back to Bruges museums

Bruges' museums received just under 700.000 visitors in 2022, the city reported on Wednesday. The Belfry remains the most visited venue, followed by the Museum of the Church of Our Lady and Groeninge Museum. The number of visitors from neighbouring countries doubled compared to 2021.

The recovery of international tourism after 2020 and 2021, the pandemic years, is good news for Bruges' museums. The museum group's various museums and monuments received a total of 687.857 visitors during the past year. "After the tentative revival of 2021, we can now talk about a very successful year in 2022, in which we were able to welcome fifty per cent more visitors than the year before," says culture alderman Nico Blontrock. "With almost 700.000 visitors, we are quietly approaching the record 900.000 of 2019. We can be delighted with that, especially keeping in mind that travel restrictions were still in place until mid-February, so the first quarter was still very calm. From the Easter holidays onwards, our numbers have soared."

The star attraction remains the Bruges Belfry, which received some 195.000 visits. "Just under a third of all our visitors climb the Hall Tower," says mayor Dirk De fauw. "We are therefore looking forward to the major renovation of the Belfry, after which we will no doubt be able to count on much more interest."

The number of visitors from neighbouring countries has doubled compared to 2021. "For instance, we received over 80.000 French, 60.000 Dutch and 50.000 Germans. And starting this autumn, the British also returned in large numbers. With over 30.000 British visitors, we are still far from back to normal, but it is a step in the right direction after corona and Brexit." Furthermore, domestic visitors also continue to descend on Bruges museums. "In the corona year of 2021, we had an exceptionally high number of Belgian visitors, with a share of almost 60 per cent. Last year, this was still 34 per cent."



#FlandersNewsService | Groeninge Museum in Bruges © BELGA PHOTO KURT DESPLENTER

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