Discovering Bruges: your guide to MICE events in the enchanting city

MICE events in Bruges

Looking for a slice of enchantment to elevate your next MICE event? Look no further than the breathtaking city of Bruges.

Bruges isn’t just your typical European city; it’s a living, breathing masterpiece.

Nestled snugly in the heart of Belgium, Bruges exudes a fairy-tale charm that’s hard to resist. Picture-perfect cobbled streets, serene canals, medieval houses straight out of storybooks and quaint market squares – Bruges has it all, and then some. And it’s not just a street here or there that boasts these medieval charms; the entire city center is a veritable treasure trove of architectural wonders. Every turn of the corner leaves you reaching for your camera, eager to capture yet another breathtaking vista. You won’t find a house you wouldn’t want to live in, a restaurant you wouldn’t want to eat in or a view you wouldn’t want to call your own. Everything about it is perfect.

And the good news is Bruges isn’t just for tourists. It’s also a stellar choice for hosting your next MICE event. With its relatively quiet atmosphere during the week and shoulder seasons, Bruges offers a serene backdrop for business gatherings. Plus, its compact size ensures that navigating the city is a breeze for your attendees. And let’s not forget about the gastronomic delights – Bruges is a culinary haven, offering everything from fine dining experiences to delectable Belgian beer and chocolates.

When it comes to accommodation and venues, Bruges spoils you for choice. With over 100 hotels to choose from, a 1,250-seat concert hall and a Meetings & Convention Centre that opened in 2022, you’re guaranteed to find the perfect fit for your event.  Each venue offers its own unique charm and amenities, ensuring that your attendees feel right at home. There’s also plenty of sustainable choices, with over 11 destinations having the Green Key Label. In this blog post, we share some of our recommendations for the best and most sustainable venues to host MICE events in Bruges.

Bruges Meeting & Convention Centre

Bruges earned its UNESCO Heritage Site status in 2000, ushering in strict regulations to safeguard its medieval Gothic architecture. Given these constraints, it’s particularly impressive how the architects designed a new conference center in 2022 that seamlessly integrates into the historic city.

Nestled between the moat encircling the old town and its largest public square, this elegant four-story conference is in an area relatively younger than the rest of the historic center but still full of beautifully preserved 19th-century row houses, adorned in Flemish brick of varying reds and browns. Clad in locally sourced brick, the conference center harmonises with the palette of its surroundings, while its ground-floor exhibition hall, with its extensive glazing, invites passersby to peek inside, blending the building into the fabric of the neighbourhood.

Spanning an impressive 4,500m² on the ground floor alone, the conference center is an ideal venue for trade fairs, exhibitions, expos and concerts, accommodating up to 2,500 visitors. The upper floors house the conference section, designed to host meetings and conferences ranging from intimate board meetings to larger gatherings of up to 500 participants. Adhering to the ‘three chairs’ principle, every attendee is ensured a seat in the plenary hall, catering area and break-out rooms, promoting comfort and accessibility.

Boasting sustainable features, the Bruges Medieval Conference Center is a nearly energy-neutral building (nZEB), showcasing the city’s commitment to eco-conscious construction. From Cradle-to-Cradle Certified carpeting to solar panels and heat pumps, every aspect of the center is designed with sustainability in mind. The green roof not only acts as a rainwater buffer but also purifies the air and regulates indoor temperatures, while an extensive rooftop garden promotes biodiversity.

The center’s commitment to sustainability extends to its catering services, with preferred caterers signing a charter to promote responsible consumption and production. Emphasising seasonal, local, organic and fair trade products, these caterers minimise environmental impact while delivering exceptional culinary experiences.

Crowne Plaza Bruges

Only five minutes away from the Market Square and located on the medieval Burg Square, this 96 room business hotel has 12 fully equipped meeting rooms with capacity up to 370, each with their own atmosphere including an unique medieval ambiance in the basement of the hotel where guests can admire the excavated remains of the famous 12th-century Sint-Donaas church and the relics of a 1,000 year-old city wall.

Relais & Chateaux Hotel Heritage

Formerly a grand townhouse, transformed in the 19th century, it served as a bank until bought and turned into a luxury hotel by Johan and Isabelle Creytens in 1992 who remain involved in the hotel running today. The 22 rooms are divided into three categories, by size: Classic, Deluxe and Junior Suites. All are different, but all are decorated in broadly 18th and 19th century styles, with chandeliers, elegant wallpapers and fabrics, antique-modern furnishings.

Located on Niklaas Desparsstraat, a relatively quiet street just to the north of the Markt, Bruges’s main historic square, all the main sights are within walking distance, such as the Town Hall, the prettiest stretches of canal and the Groeningemuseum with its outstanding collection by the Flemish Masters. The best shopping streets are also close at hand.

The hotel promotes soft mobility, setting up transfer shuttles that use electric cars. All rooms are also equipped with low-energy lighting and digital thermostats to guarantee more reliable air conditioning and heating. Cleaning teams use entirely non-toxic products, and guests are made aware of good practice in conserving water and energy, as well as sorting waste. In addition, a large proportion of the ingredients for the restaurant’s menu come from organic farming or Fairtrade sources.

NH Brugge
Once a monastery and now an elegant hotel with 149 rooms, it’s located opposite the Concertgebouw, a cultural centre and stunning event venue. The interior conveys a sense of history with wooden beams and oak panelling frame grand fireplaces and wrought iron candelabras whilst providing a modern infrastructure for meetings and has 8 meeting rooms with a capacity ranging from 5 to 200 persons. Other facilities include a cosy bar, fitness area and a garden with adjacent terrace. NH Brugge sits within the ring of the Belgian city’s ramparts but on the cusp of the main tourist streets whilst the BMCC and Oud Sint-Jan convention and event centre are just a stone’s throw away.

Radison Blu Hotel Bruges

Come out of the station, turn right up some steps and the hotel is three minutes away, making it a great location for business travellers and it’s still within walking distance of the city centre (15 minutes). It’s a great base for your meetings and events, with 109 guest rooms and suites and 6 meeting rooms, holding up to 90 people. The private rooftop and meeting rooms on the top (12th) floor offer a unique view over the historical city of Bruges.

Beyond the boardroom, Bruges offers a plethora of activities to enhance your attendees’ experience. Explore the city’s rich history with a guided walking tour of its medieval landmarks, or embark on a scenic boat cruise along its tranquil canals. For a taste of local culture, treat your guests to a Belgian beer tasting experience or a chocolate-making workshop – after all, Belgium is renowned for its delicious brews and indulgent treats. Art enthusiasts will delight in visits to world-class museums like the Groeningemuseum or the Memling Museum, showcasing masterpieces from Flemish painters throughout history.

How to get there

London Heathrow flies directly to Ostend-Bruges International Airport but the best way to get to Bruges is by train. The Eurostar arrives at Brussels Midi where you change platforms to catch the half-hourly Brussels-Brugge train on the main line through Ghent, taking around 1 hour.  The Eurostar Any Belgian Station is the ticket to go for as it enables you to hop on any Belgian domestic train from Brussels to anywhere in Belgium within 24 hours of arrival, saving you the bother of buying a second ticket at the station. And don’t forget not to be caught out by the spelling of Bruges, which the locals spell as Brugge (and pronounce as ‘Brooguh’).

Event planning in Bruges

With its fairy-tale charm, rich history and array of attractions, Bruges offers a truly magical setting for your next MICE event. Whether you’re seeking top-notch accommodation, versatile event venues, or unforgettable activities, with sustainability at the heart of them, this enchanting city has it all and more. So why settle for the ordinary when you can elevate your event to extraordinary heights in the captivating surroundings of Bruges?

For more information about MICE events in Bruges, or any assistance with sourcing venues in Bruges please reach out to our team. We’re here to help you explore the endless possibilities and start planning your unique experience. Contact us to start planning your unforgettable MICE experience today!

For more international event and incentive travel ideas, or for information about hosting incentive trips, meetings, or events, don’t hesitate to contact the Evolve Events team. We possess the experience and local knowledge to assist you with venue finding, activities and logistics to create unforgettable experiences.

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