Bruges is a city on a human scale. All the historic attractions, conference locations and charming hotels are within walking distance and everything is neatly enclosed by the green city walls. It is a great place for both walking and cycling. Ideal for anyone who feels like a breath of fresh air after a busy day at a conference.
On policy level, 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. Bruges aims to be carbon neutral by 2050. Bruges was a pioneer in launching its hybrid city buses. From 2023, all buses will be electric and all city services will be run on Alpenenergie.
The Concertgebouw, which is one of the city’s largest venues, has its very own eco-team and the brand new Bruges Meeting and Convention Centre is also focussing on sustainability. The building is climate neutrally heated and cooled, rainwater is collected and re-used and the solar panels on the roof provide all the energy for the building and many others in Bruges. From the choice of materials used to the restaurant menu, the focus has been firmly on sustainability.
Bruges, along with Barcelona and Milan, is also a Food Smart City. Bruges has linked its fame as a gastronomic city to local food supply chains in order to minimise food waste. Quality, sustainability and social employment are central to this. The city also participates in the annual Global Destination Sustainability-index, a worldwide benchmark and results-driven programme for destinations and visitors. And Bruges is one of the rising stars of the programme.
As well as the initiatives being taken in the city, the hotels are getting involved too and investing in ways to become more sustainable. This resulted in a number of hotels receiving the Green Key Certificate. Bruges is constantly evolving.
Bruges wins sixth place in 'small cities world' category Condé Nast Traveler's Awards. The market-leading travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler based these awards on the ratings and reviews of more than 800,00 readers of their recent travel experiences. These results show which destinations Condé Nast readers longed for most when they couldn't travel and decided to visit first as soon as they were able to.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, Bruges opted for a sustainable tourism story and sees this award as a confirmation of the qualitative path that was taken. In this new story for tourism, the city explicitly opts for 'better' rather than 'more'. A positive and sustainable story which we write together with our visitors, residents and entrepreneurs.
Fair Trade Communities, or in the case of Bruges 'Fair Trade Towns', is an international campaign that invites municipalities and their citizens to commit to fair trade. Fair Trade Communities tries in a concrete way to provide a decent existence for small farmers and sustainable producers in the North.