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Discover Benelux | Top Things to Do & Places to Visit | Flanders

No time like the past TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK | PHOTOS: HISTORIUM BRUGGE

Have you always wanted to travel through time? It is possible at the Historium. This attraction takes you back to the Golden Age of Bruges with an invigorating experience indulging all of your senses. Proudly located on Bruges’ central market square, the Historium is the perfect spot to experience the liveliness of Belgian medieval times. The attraction takes you by the hand to themed rooms, filled with decor, film, music and special effects. It places you in the middle of historical scenes, while an audio guide escorts you in your own language. Start your journey at the Gothic gate and the entrance to Bruges, back then the largest commercial centre of Western Europe. “Bruges’ seaside location, halfway between Northern and Southern Europe, made it perfect for trade,” the Historium’s general manager Christophe Roose explains. Follow your guide to the warehouse, a central hub for merchants. Feel the artisan woven ropes, listen to 36 | Issue 32 | August 2016

workers piling and dragging goods and hear the chains rattling – like you are a merchant ready to trade. As well as being an economic hub, Bruges was a major artistic and cultural superpower. Roose: “The advent of the Dukes of Burgundy in the 15th century resulted in the city attracting many artists.” One of the most renowned painters of the Middle Ages, Jan van Eyck, still has his atelier in the Historium. “My favourite room,” says Roose. “You can feel the pigments, touch the brushes and sketches and inhale the scent of oil paint.” Alternatively, be intoxicated by the perfume and warm steam in the bath house, stroll through medieval streets, visit the first stock exchange in the world and inhale the smell of Bruges' canals and waterway. History becomes even more alive with the Historium’s Virtual Reality Experience, allowing visitors to step into 15th century Bruges via a spectacular trip into a 360-degree virtual world. “We are world

pioneers in this area: you literally find yourself in another world.” Want to get a breath of fresh air? With the Historium’s VR City App you can walk around Bruges armed with VR cardboard glasses. Put them on every time you get a notification – you will see Bruges through medievalshaped glasses. Before settling down in the Duvelorium, the only real Duvel café in the world, take the stairs to the panoramic terrace with stunning views over the city: the perfect way to get back to the present! www.historium.be