Bruges has, aside from a rich cultural heritage, a whole range of fascinating museums. Some of them are intriguing, like the Volkslkunde Folklore Museum, while others are kind of silly, like Belgian Fries Museum. However, it is the wide array of different museums that makes Bruges, a must-visit destination for museum junkies. For those that just don't know where to start, here are some of our favourites...
Volkslkunde Folklore Museum
Nestled among the old whitewashed houses in the former Shoemakers Guild Almshouse, the Folklore Museum in Bruges has recreated the interiors of buildings from the 16th through to the 18th century.
Visitors can explore a primary school house, a cooper's and milliner's house, a spice store and a candy store, as well as scenes from every day households. However, the most refreshing exhibit is the recreation of an old inn, De Zwarte Kat (the Black Cat), which has beer on tap for adults and games in the garden for the kids.
Belgium chocolate is world famous and one of the country's biggest exports and no trip to the country would be complete without a few samples.
However, do you know what makes it so special? Well, the Choco-Story Museum is your chance to find out. Visitors follow the story and development of Belgian chocolate, including stories of its unique properties, processes and what exactly makes it taste so good. It traces the history of chocolate all the way from the Maya and Spanish conquistadors to the chocolate connoisseurs of today.
Visitors even get a demonstration on the chocolate making process first hand. The chocolate is made by their resident chocolatier and tour groups will get to sample the fruits of his labour to assure its authenticity. For an added bonus, aside from the free samples, there is even a small chocolate art gallery on site, featuring some interesting chocolate statues. Visitors can look - but need to keep their hands to themselves in there.
Creativecommons.org/ Kim Alaniz
The Diamond Museum in Bruges is one of only five diamond museums in the world. Diamonds are one of Bruges’ most important exports and the museum illustrates the history of the city as one of the oldest diamond centres in Europe.
This particular museum focuses on the art of diamond polishing, which was invented in Bruges during the 15th century. Every day, around midday, the museum hosts a polishing demonstration so visitors can see the special process at work.
Lumina Domestica Lamp Museum
Need a little light in your life? Well, at the Lumina Domestica Lamp Museum, light is there in no small supply. Though this museum is not as popular as the chocolate museum, this is one of the most unique museums in Bruges.
The Lumina Domestica hosts the largest collection of lights and lamps in the world. They have over 6,000 antique light-creating devices on display in order to tell the full story of interior lighting. Visitors will find everything from torches and paraffin lamps to the light bulb and LED devices inside.
The Lumina Domestica Museum is something of a hidden gem in Bruges, the majority of museum attention usually focuses on the chocolate museum and the Belgium fry museum, so visitors will likely have this three-story beauty all to themselves to explore.
Belgian Fries Museum
The famous Friet Museum is the only museum in the world dedicated to this particular fast food snack. It's called by many names - fries, chips, pommes frites, French fries, etc - due to the many different names for the dish, but whatever name visitors call it, the product is all the same.
It was said that the famous foodstuff originated in Belgium, so it is only natural that they pay it homage. It was the French-speaking Belgians that introduced American soldiers to the treat in World War I, but since they spoke French, the Americans thought they were French and that is how the fry got that particular name.
The museum traces the history of the lowly potato and how it came to be chopped thin and fried up. The museum also discusses the various condiments paired with these tasty treats around the world. However, the condiment of choice in Belgium is mayonnaise. The entrance fee to the museum not only nets visitors access, but they will also receive a cone of fries and some mayo to dip them in for a special taste of Belgium.
While the museum is interesting, the building that holds it is fascinating as well, as it is the city's oldest medieval building, dating back to around 1399.