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X-mas in Bruges - lots of info (+ new info X-mas market!)

Sluis, The...
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X-mas in Bruges - lots of info (+ new info X-mas market!)

Dear forum readers,

X-mas is coming to town! Just some reminders about what's going on in Bruges this winter.

X-MAS MARKET: 24/11/2011 until 03/01/2012

This year the X-mas market will take place only on the Market square and Simon Stevin square. Walplein will not participate like it did last year.

Mind: The city council has recently decided to open the X-mas market on Thursday 24/11/2011 instead of Friday 25/11/2011!

Opening hours

* every day from 11h00 untill 19h00

* on Monday, Thursday and Sunday: possibly open untill 22h00 (depending on weather conditions)

* on Friday and Saturday: possibly open untill 23h00 (depending on weather conditions)

On NYE only the Christmas market on the Market square will be open.

ONLY THIS YEAR, additional opening hours:

* on 24/11/2011: 10h30 till 22h30 (end of sales at 22h00)

* on 16/12/2011: 11h00 till 00h30 (end of sales at midnight)

16/12/2011 has special opening hours because there is a running event called "Kerstloop" or simply "Christmas run" in English. It's the first time that this run is being organised. There is a 5 km run and a 10 km run, both start at 20h00 on the Market square. Here is the route:


The 10 km runs this route twice.

You can participate if you like, the price is 7 euro for the 5 km and 10 euro for the 10 km run.

The website is only in Dutch: http://www.ivandegrieck.be/nl/index.php


Bruges always makes an effort to look stunningly magical during X-mas, so many places are decorated with X-mas lights.

This year the X-mas lights are on from 25/11/2011 untill 08/01/2012. I checked this afternoon whether the X-mas light would go on sooner, on 24/11, but the responsible person said "probably not".


Magical winter moments can be described as a X-mas home interior fair, focused on flowers and floral art. It's the best place to get ideas on how to decorate your house. It's a very popular event in Bruges.

Open from 25/11/2011 until 04/12/2011 from 10h00 to 18h00.

The price is 12 euro or 10 euro if you buy your ticket in advance on the website www.happenings.be

Don't throw away your ticket! You get discount in 3 museums:

* Groeningemuseum for the expo "Imperial Treasures"

* Memlingmuseum for the expo "From barber-surgeons to plague saints

* Dalímuseum

ICE SCULPTURES: 25/11/ 2011 until the 15/01/2012

Each winter the square in front of the train station houses several large white tents. And each year thousands flock to these tents to visit the Snow and Ice Sculptures.

Every edition has a different theme. Themes from previous years include: Harry Potter, Ice Age and Around the world in snow and ice (famous UNESCO monuments & buildings).

This year's theme is DISNEY! Classic Disney figures (Mickey, Sleeping Beauty, Simba...) as well as modern ones (Jack Sparrow, Wall-E...) welcome you in Bruges. This is one edition not to miss, fun for all ages.

The ice sculptures are open 7 days a week from 10h00 to 19h00.

The adult price is 13 euro, kids (4 - 12 years) pay 9 euro.

Website: http://www.icesculpture.be/

Other winter events can be found at foto.brugge.be/events_brugge/winter_nl.html

Kind regards,


Square and Statue of Simon Stevin
Points of Interest & Landmarks, Monuments & Statues
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Wakefield, United...
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1. Re: X-mas in Bruges - lots of info (+ new info X-mas market!)

I am counting the days - NAY - the hours til I see the Ice sculptures this year

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2. Re: X-mas in Bruges - lots of info (+ new info X-mas market!)

Hey Sabrina I plan on arriving in the middle of December for the week in Brugges. Are there a lot of tourists or about the same if it were the beginning of April?

Sluis, The...
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3. Re: X-mas in Bruges - lots of info (+ new info X-mas market!)


That's hard to tell, but generally speaking it's better to come to Bruges during the week. It's always more crowded Friday till Sunday.

If you come to Bruges in December, even in the middle of the week, there will be more tourists than usual, because of the X-mas market and the ice sculptures.

X-mas shopping days are to be avoided if you don't like crowds. This year's X-mas shopping days:

* Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 December

* Friday 23 December

* Monday 26 December (Boxing Day)

* Tuesday 27 December

* Wednesday 28 December

* Thursday 29 December

There are free buses into town on those days.

Bruges is quite magical during the X-mas period. Our city is always romantic, but during the winter period there is this special warm feeling only to be had around X-mas :)

The Easter holiday is the first two weeks of April 2012 (02/04 to 14/04). The weather is always very important, as Easter is traditionally the start of the tourist season. Avoid the easter weekend of 7, 8 and 9 April.

However, spring is the best period to visit the beguinage in Bruges, when the daffodils blossom.

Hope this helps.

Kind regards,


Antwerpen, Belgium
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4. Re: X-mas in Bruges - lots of info (+ new info X-mas market!)

Brugge is extremely crowded during the school holidays, that are from 26th December upto 6th January. I *must* see Brugge around Christmas time every year, but I try to go before the big crowds, i.e. the week before Christmas.

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5. Re: X-mas in Bruges - lots of info (+ new info X-mas market!)

Thank you Sabrina for all the info we arrive tom (Thurs) lunch time so looking forward to xmas market and lot's more to see! We have 3 days so lots to see and shopping we came last year and just missed the xmas market

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6. Re: X-mas in Bruges - lots of info (+ new info X-mas market!)

Thank you for all the information Sabrina - we arrive on Saturday for three nights to celebrate our wedding anniversary and I can't wait to get into the Christmas spirit!

Edited: 24 November 2011, 09:26
Melbourne, Australia
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7. Re: X-mas in Bruges - lots of info (+ new info X-mas market!)

Hi Sabrina. We will be in Bruges on 24 & 25 December. Do you know if anything is open? Thank you.

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8. Re: X-mas in Bruges - lots of info (+ new info X-mas market!)

Hi Sabrina,

Would you know if there is any good "Santa" - Papa Noel ? for kids. We were suppose to be flying to Finland from Brussels next week and have had to cancel.. would love to bring kids to a good santa while we are in Belguim

Sluis, The...
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9. Re: X-mas in Bruges - lots of info (+ new info X-mas market!)


Haven't been on TA in a while, enjoyed a week off and decided to spend little time on my laptop :)

24/12 is X-mas eve, so expect shops to close earlier than usual. Normal closing time is 18h00. The Municipal Museums (incl. Belfry Tower, Town Hall, Groeninge, Memling, Church of Our Lady) always close at 16h00 on 24/12. Diamond, Chocolate, Lamps, Belgian Fries and brewery museum are closed.

25/12 is X-mas and everything will be closed.

We do not really celebrate X-mas with Santa everywhere. In Belgium and the Netherlands "Sinterklaas" (Saint Nicolas) is big business.

Sinterklaas is celebrated with parades and lots of people invite the Sint into their homes (I was visited by the Sint when I was 3 years old, my parents recorded it all). Each town has some sort of Sint event, where kids can meet the Sint.

The weeks leading up to Sinterklaas are very exciting for kids and tomorrow evening is the big evening when kids get their long awated presents :) Sinterklaas is a real family event.

You can read more about it on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinterklaas

For kids, Santa really comes second to Sinterklaas.

There is no Santa in Bruges that you can visit. Some local shops might invite one, but I don't have an overview. The only thing that I could come up with is the annual winter dive on 18/12/2011 at 11h00 on Rozenhoedkaai. "De Brugse ijsberen" (Bruges' polar bears = people who enjoy swimming in icy cold water) have their annual dive in the canals and it says on the poster that there is also a Santa (Kerstman) present.


Generally speaking: families with young kids (- 10 years) usually always celebrate Sinterklaas. When the kids are old enough to not believe in Sint some families switch (like in my case) to celebrate Santa.

Anyway, I hope you will still enjoy Bruges' X-mas vibe, even without a Santa :) instead, visit the ice sculptures, I'm sure your kids will love those, especially 'cause this year's theme is Disney.

Kind regards,


10. Re: X-mas in Bruges - lots of info (+ new info X-mas market!)

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