Bruges (Dutch: Brugge) is a picturesque city in Flanders, the northern part of Belgium. Once Europe's richest city, now both cosmopolitan and bourgeois in its compact size, it is one of the best preserved pre-motorised cities in Europe and offers the kind of charms rarely available other than in Europe.
In the 2nd century AD there was a Gallo-Roman settlement, but the city got its foundations in the 9th century when the Vikings landed. The name Brugge indeed likely comes from the Old Norse "bryggja", translating to harbor or jetty, and was first mentioned between 850 and 875. During the following centuries there were strong connections to the north, and Bruges became one of the trading points of the Hanseatic League. Interestingly, the historical Hanseatic harbour of Bergen is also known as Bryggen.