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Even in the "low season" it's so busy. And the summer bookings are coming in on a fast tempo.

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zaterdag 11 oktober 2014

Simon Stevin square

Daily a lot of people visit this square, to find the best chocolate in the country at the “Chocolate Line”.
But the square has a funny story in its past.
The square today
Before the square became a square, there was the “Westvleeshuis”, a slaughterhouse. But with the modern times coming and hygiene becoming more important, the slaughterhouse didn’t meet up for the new standards. So it was that the slaughterhouse, which was standing there since the 14th century was demolished in 1819 and the square was a fact.
The city of Bruges wanted to give this new square a name, and they proposed to give it the name of Simon Stevin.
The people of Bruges disapproved this choice. Imagine yourself in the 1800’s, where everyone is really, deeply catholic and big lover and defender of their city.
Still today most inhabitants of Bruges think that he wasn’t of Bruges. And “oh my God, he was a protestant!”.
Let’s see who he was.
He was a scientist who was born in Bruges in 1548. He was active in many areas of science and engineering. It was him who translated various mathematical terms into Dutch and gave mathematics the Dutch name we still use today: “wiskunde”, wis+kunde i.e. “the art of what is certain”.
And… he was a protestant, and that is why he left Bruges in 1571 to move to the Netherlands. He’d come back to Bruges in 1577 and was appointed cityclerk by the aldermen of the city, which he was until 1581 when he left Bruges again.
He stayed in the Netherlands for the rest of is life and dies in 1620. It is not certain where he died (The Hague or Leiden).

So, the people of Bruges were correct to say he was a protestant, but he was of Bruges !
The square with the temporary statue
Now, with the inauguration of the square the city of Bruges had an order of a sculpture made. The plan was that the inauguration would take place on July 26th 1846. But there was a little hick-up in this planning, because the bronze sculpture wasn’t ready yet.
So a backup plan was fabricated on the spot. A plaster sculpture was made and placed where the bronze one should come.
Nobody knew on the moment of the celebrations that they were looking at a plaster statue.
The following months, the weather conditions gave us a problem, as we do get some rain from time to time. The bronze colour was coming off as the plaster wasn’t fit to withstand these conditions!
So every so often, in the middle of the night the old statue was removed and a new came in place.

This kept on going for over a year, until finally in September 1847 the bronze sculpture was ready.