Bruges (Dutch: Brugge; French: Bruges) is the capital and biggest city of West Flanders in Belgium’s Flemish Region, in the country’s northwest.
The total area of the city is more than 13,840 hectares, including 1,075 hectares off the shore in Zeebrugge (from Brugge aan zee meaning “Bruges on Sea” ). The historic city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is oval in form and covers around 430 hectares. The city has a total population of 117,073 (1 January 2008), with around 20,000 living in the city center. The metropolitan region, including the outside commuter zone, has a total size of 616 km2 (238 sq mi) with a population of 255,844 people as of January 1, 2008.
It is frequently referred to as The Venice of the North, along with a few other canal-based northern towns such as Amsterdam and Stockholm. Bruges has enormous economic significance due to its port and was once the world’s most important commercial city. Bruges is well-known as the home of the College of Europe, a prestigious academic center for European studies dubbed as “the EU’s very own Oxbridge.”