THE CANALS AND BELFRIES OF BRUGES
Venice of the North
Note: This episode contains a bit of profanity.
The swampy county of Flanders was the richest part of Europe in the 14th century, fueled by the international cloth trade, and Bruges was the cent of that trade, spinning English wool into Flemish cloth. The trade brought power to the craft guilds, and that power brought those guilds into conflict with the aristocracy, and ultimately, the king of France.
In this episode, Manuel Van den Eycke of the Random History of Belgium Podcast joins us to examine the Bruges Matins, a worker-led uprising, and the subsequent Battle of the Golden Spurs. That victory, which nationalists have given connotations well beyond the intent of the participants.
We also talk about Belgian food (the best), including chocolate, fries, beer, and waffles, with a recipe for Liege-style waffles that will bring a smile to your face.
Belgium means so much to me, and I hope my enthusiasm shines through in this episode.
Brown, Elizabeth, A.R. “Philip IV, King of France” in Encyclopedia Britannica
“Enchanted Bruges” New York Times 2006
“The Rise and Fall of the Medieval Flemish Cloth Industry” DiscoveringBelgium.com
Rick Steves Belgium: Bruges, Brussels, Antwerp & Ghent
Thomson, Emma. Northern Belgium: Flanders With Brussels, Bruges, Ghent & Antwerp
Photograph by Hans Hillewaert