The millions of tourists who visit Bruges every year may not really think about it. But all those beautiful, historic buildings must also be maintained. And that costs a monumental city like Bruges a huge amount of money. So much that Bruges now wants to see which buildings in its heritage could possibly repel the city. A delicate exercise is also realized by Patrimony Minou Esquenet (CD&V party) vessels. “Patrimony is very important for the DNA of a city. Bruges receives almost 9 million visitors every year. Part of it comes to the museums and the Flemish masters. But a very large part also comes for the experience of the city. And then you come to the patrimony. “
The city of Bruges has 520 buildings in its portfolio. A good half has heritage value, 162 of the buildings are also protected as a monument. In addition, Bruges has three recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site: the Belfry, the Beguinage, and the entire city center. There is no financial support for such UNESCO recognition. Moreover, the heritage premiums, which cities can get from the Flemish government to preserve their heritage, have also fallen over the past five years.
Bruges allocates 2.7 million euros annually for the daily maintenance of all these buildings. An amount that may not be sufficient in a few years’ time fears the ships, which is also responsible for energy. “Consider the energy transition. Major challenges are coming our way. How can we get our historic buildings ready for the future? “
And sometimes such a historic building also needs a complete update. That costs a lot of money. Bruges decided five years ago to take over the Gruuthuse Palace, an investment of almost 9 million euros. The iconic Belfry itself also needs a makeover. The file for this has been started, but the works themselves may not be able to start this legislature anymore. Ships Esquenet: “For such works on a protected building there are very long procedures, in which approvals must be requested and management plans were drawn up. So that can take a while. “
There is no doubt about the iconic monuments such as the Beguinage, City Hall or Belfry (Belfort), which Esquenet wants to keep. “But we will all make an inventory of the rest of our assets and see whether we are retaining, trying to deploy flexibly with, for example, a public-private partnership or being able to divest. We do this step by step and very thoughtfully and thoroughly prepare decisions for the short, medium and long term. ”
source De Morgen 19/11/19