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Your Bruges is becoming a hot item in the city ! With walks almost every day of the weekends it's a hit !
Even in the "low season" it's so busy. And the summer bookings are coming in on a fast tempo.

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zondag 13 juli 2014

Bruges and the movies

In my previous blog I talked about the Navy in Bruges. Well, in the book I was reading about the military history of Bruges I came upon something nice to tell, next to the Navy blog of course.

Cinemas (or movie theatres if you’d like) in Bruges! Even the city that thrives on the middle-ages-look was amazed by the moving images that occurred at the end of the 19th century.
The very  first projection of a movie was on September 5th 1896 in a room of the hotel “Den Keizerlijken Arend” (The Emperial Eagle), right across the city theatre. In that very room came the “Cinema Edison”,  later the “Ciné Ritz”. Now there is a book store to be found where the hotel was (Standaard Boekhandel).
The first, real movie-theatre was at the Market Square, the “Grand Cinéma Pathé Frères”. Not the smallest company as you know that Pathé Frères is the name of various French businesses that were founded and originally run by the Pathé Brothers of France starting in 1896. In the early 1900s, Pathé became the world's largest film equipment and production company, as well as a major producer of phonograph records. In 1908, Pathé invented the newsreel that was shown in theaters prior to a feature film. Today, Pathé is active in film production and distribution, cinema chains, and television networks.
It was to be found a little to the right of Café Cranenburg. The theatre opened on May 2nd 1909 but of course there were other people with the idea of making money on this new invention of moving images. One of those new theatres found a really interesting place to lure many viewers, in the Langestraat, close to the military barracks !
Old picture of "The Swan"- now known as "Bauhaus"

Andreas De Ceuninck bought a large house in the Langestraat, on the corner of the Stoelstraat. A few years later, in January 1912 he started installing his own movie-theatre, “De Zwaan” (The Swan).
The interior was so designed a room of 5,60 by 18,40 meter (18,4 by 60,40 feet) could hold 450 people to watch the movie (that is including the balcony). They were not the comfortable seats you find in the movie-theatres today !
But soldiers are used to much less comfort…
Even the programming was military inspired. The movie “The battle of Waterloo” was shown daily, and even three times on Sunday !
The First World War made an end of all this joy and the movie-theatre “The Swan” had to close. The Germans used the house as stocking room. After the war Andreas De Ceuninck was too old to restart, so the movie-theatre never returned.
The house of “The Swan” still exists today, but where the cinema used to be, now you can find the hostel “Bauhaus”!

So if you’re looking for a place to sleep and you end up here, imagine: this used to be a cinema !