Bruges city councillor concerned about souvenir shops


The Venice of the north is becoming overrun with souvenir shops, according to local merchants, and it’s cheapening the atmosphere

Not all chocolate is created equal

Bruges’s city councillor in charge of urban planning is concerned about the proliferation of souvenir shops in the city, known as “the Venice of the north”. The Bulletin reports that local merchants are also concerned about the lack of quality of goods in the shops.

Bruges attracts the most tourists of any city in Belgium, with seven million a year coming through. It also remains popular with Belgian day-trippers. The entire city centre of Bruges is Unesco-protected heritage, and locals are fiercely proud of the medieval city’s authentic look and feel.

Many local traders think that cheap souvenir shops detract from that atmosphere. They are also concerned that they are selling cheap beer and chocolate that does not properly represent the quality of such Belgian products.

“They’re selling T-shirts, beer and chocolate, but they’re ruining the market,” one chocolatier told VRT.

Mercedes Van Volcem, Bruges councillor in charge of urban planning, said that the city council was looking into the matter. She agreed that the shops offered “an identical selection of products” and that “diversity in shopping lends to a more liveable city for the residents and is also better for the tourists”.