Is Bruges too much like Amsterdam?

Old Jun 22nd, 2015, 03:25 AM
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If you are writing in English (or French), the name of the city is <b>Bruges</b>. If you are writing in Dutch (nederlands), the name of the city is Brugge. (And if you don't speak Dutch, don't even think about trying to pronounce that).

Using <i>Brugge</i> when writing in English would be akin to referring to the capital of Russia as Москва.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2015, 03:48 AM
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THE answer to your question is, IMO, NO they are not "too much alike."
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Old Jun 22nd, 2015, 06:37 AM
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TPAYT, we stayed at the Hotel Aragon, not on the canal…..some on TA said the canal hotels could be noisy, but I am sure that the views would be great. The Aragon was lovely, very well-priced, esp for what a nice hotel it was with great AC--which could be needed in Sept, I could imagine, and per a TA recommendation we got a room in the back on an upper (3rd) floor and it was blissfully quiet. The rooms in the back have nice little balconies with a table and 2 chairs.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2015, 07:33 AM
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In Bruges last year - absolute gem of a town! Also stayed at Huis Koning and could not recommend it more highly.

Haven't been to A'dam for years but wouldn't compare it to Bruges - totally different animals.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2015, 09:12 AM
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Took afternoon bicycle trip out of Bruges along tree lined canal to little villages. Very, very nice. A highlight for us.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2015, 11:10 AM
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Yes immimi has it right - Bruges and Amsterdam totally incomparable - both are so so awesome in their own way.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2015, 11:26 AM
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janisj on Jun 22, 15 at 12:01am
Danon: >>A very pretty, very touristY place. Visited a couple of times ( not overnight)
..it was packed.<<

That is the problem w/ not staying overnight. Same as someplace like Venice. Huge crowds w/ all the day trippers. But after about 4PM the hordes start leaving and the place is magical in the evenings/mornings. So if you've only been there during the day -- no wonder you have that opinion."

Not all travellers can (or wish ) to stay overnight in all towns.

Venice is another story. We stayed for a week just last month.

And ,in spite ofbeing in Belgium, it is a Flemish town. Our guide said
English was more welcomed by town's people than French.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2015, 12:17 PM
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<<And ,in spite ofbeing in Belgium, it is a Flemish town. Our guide said English was more welcomed by town's people than French.>>
Yes, because more people speak better English than French. In case your guide referred to the language issue in Flanders ... this is long gone in such tourist towns!
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Old Jun 22nd, 2015, 12:23 PM
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The language issue has nothing with English being prevalent it is about long standing historical, cultural, economic, and political issues.

http://www.historyextra.com/belgium
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Old Jun 22nd, 2015, 02:21 PM
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Of which MyriamC is fully aware, living in Belgium, IMDonehere!
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Old Jun 22nd, 2015, 02:47 PM
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Fine. I can only go by people's words.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2015, 03:03 PM
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When I was in Bruges a lot years ago I knew some French and no one in Bruges seemed to know any - so much for a bi-lingual country - actually two bi-lingual countries artificially put together as to where Napoelon's troops start conquering the country whatever it was called then - Formerly I understood the Walloon or French areas were more propsperous and had a hegemony over the country - even some Flem told me forcing all Flems in schools to take French, which I think was the official language of the government, etc.

This - all this from what Flems told to me - produced an animosity between the two peoples that has never been really bridged I think and now that the Dutch-speakers have the upper hand ecnomically things have flipflopped again.

As they say the only true Belgian is the king (or queen).

Such a small country to be so divided so hopelessly it seems.

I'd be interested in a critical analysis from Belgians about my understanding, which again was told to me by several during our bike trips which were only in the Flemish area - not the grims rust-belt Walloon areas.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2015, 04:13 PM
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Last year we visited Belgium and The Netherlands including Brugge and Amsterdam. My wife likes to study a bit of the language of whatever country we are visiting so she studied some Dutch. We knew, there was great sensitivity in Belgium about languages, but we did not know the exact geographical dividing lines and how deep the sentiment. We landed in Brussels and spent a few days, where French seemed to be the dominant language. Then onto Brugge, where French was an anathema. My wife was afraid to test her Dutch, because she want to create an uncomfortable situation. So we spoke English unless someone answered us in a different tongue.

Fortunately, we found the Belgians to be an exceptionally nice people with a broad and welcoming sense of humor.

You can google a map of Belgium to see which areas speak what.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2015, 06:40 AM
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<<We knew, there was great sensitivity in Belgium about languages, but we did not know the exact geographical dividing lines and how deep the sentiment.>>
The only place in Belgium where that 'sensitivity' might still be these days, is Brussels. The Bruxellois definitely prefer to speak French, even if they hear that I'm Flemish speaking. No problem with that, I will gladly speak French.

@PalenQ
French used, indeed, to be the official language of the government in the 19th century. It is only in 1898 that Dutch was acknowledged as official language and equal to French. Flanders remained bi-lingual, Wallonia remained monolingual. This is the case till today.

In Flanders our second language at school is French. Obligatory! In Wallonia children have the choice between English and Dutch as second language. It is quite obvious that they prefer English. In Flanders, all the people of my generation (born in the '50s) and younger, will speak at least some French (if they haven't forgotten). In Wallonia hardly anyone of any generation will speak Dutch.
This is no longer a matter of animosity of any kind. Some facts & figures (report from 2006): 59% of the Flemish speak French and 53% also speak English. Only 19% of the Walloons speak Dutch and 17% also speak English. In Brussels 95% speak French, 59% also know Dutch and 41% English.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2015, 08:30 AM
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Here's where we stayed in Bruges: www.bruges-bedandbreakfast.be. Central, on a canal but set back so not noisy, very comfortable. In summer you can have breakfast outside, but we enjoyed breakfast around the big table talking with all the other guests. Highly recommended.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2015, 08:48 AM
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Interesting discussion as I am looking for a jewel of a city like Bruges between Paris and Amsterdam for our early November trip. Have been to Bruges before and consider it one of the most perfect day trip or overnight cities to visit. Any suggestions?
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Old Jun 23rd, 2015, 08:57 AM
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Excellent info from Fodorites as usual.
We are still trying to decide on an itinerary for Europe with Amsterdam. Bruges, Paris still in the running.
Time is running out so we better decide soon.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2015, 09:00 AM
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We took 1/2 day tour of the battlefields around Ypres, with a cranky and admittedly a prejudiced Brit, who claimed that many in the area resented those who spoke anything but French and English.

We were mildly warned by others as well about the language animosity in that region. This is, of course, is our limited experience, but is curious that in our time there it was a problem.
_______

Different subject Martin's Relais in Brugge was over rated.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2015, 09:11 AM
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>>Not all travellers can (or wish ) to stay overnight in all towns. <<

Didn't say they need to/should -- but that only seeing a city briefly (on a tour w/ a guide) they may have a skewed idea of what a place is really like.
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Old Jun 24th, 2015, 03:08 AM
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As someone who did post grad study at Leuven university in Flanders I think that Brit was mistaken about Ieper/Ypres area and French and English being the expected language. As Miriyam C states that's really just Brussels - a French speaking city in Flanders . Do they still gave that protest each year in Brussels about that matter?
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