Skip to main content

The legend of Minna and the Minnewater

Bruges has a beautiful small lake called 'Minnewater' It's a romantic place where lovers meet all day long. But did you ever wonder why this is? It all started with this legend...

At the time when the Romans had begun the conquest of Gaul, an old sailor had said goodbye to the sea and lived with his beautiful daughter Minna on the banks of the river Reie, at that time called Roya, in Bruges. It was a beautiful place surrounded by forests and swamps.

Because he felt that he had not had much longer to live, he was worried about the future of his daughter. Therefore, the old fisherman wanted her to marry as soon as possible. He already had a future husband in mind. He had chosen Horneck, a young fisherman from a nearby settlement he occasionally went to visit. Minna, however, had fallen in love with Stromberg, a young farmer from a neighboring tribe. She did not tell this to her father, because she knew that he hated the neighboring tribe. To arouse suspicion, she kept on postponing her wedding again and again.

When the Romans finally invaded the country, the warriors of all tribes went to war, also Stromberg's tribe. He also went to fight. Promising Minna he would come back to marry her. The old fisherman saw his chance to break Minn's stubborn will and he decided that on the third sunrise she would marry Horneck. Minna was torn between her promise to Stromberg and the will of her father. She cried her eyes red for two nights, on the third morning she went missing. She wandered along the banks of the Roya until finally, she fell, exhausted.

Sometime later, the war with the Romans had ended and Stromberg returned to his beloved Minna. When he heard that Minna had gone, he began a painstaking search. Eventually, he found her, hidden in thick undergrowth on the banks of the Roya. However, she was too exhausted and got sick, she died in the arms of her lover.

First Stromberg wanted to take his own life, but he decided to honor his beloved Minna. He builds a dam in the river to dry out the middle, on the dry bedding he made a grave where he laid his Minna to rest forever. Then let the water back in again. On the bank where he had found Minna, he placed a heavy rock on which he engraved  Minna water.

Where once stood the stone, now stands the 'Poertoren by the Minnewater', and where once the dam was is now the Minnewater Bridge. All loving couples want to take a picture there and throw a coin at Minna's grave. Bruges's own Romeo and Juliet are called Minna and Stromberg.

Popular posts from this blog

Belgian kids got to drink beer during their school lunch

There are almost 800 different kinds of beer in Belgium. One kind was very popular till the70's, it was even given to kids at school during their lunch break. Beer to kids? You must be kidding! Well, let's go a bit further into this. The beers we are talking about were so-called table beers, a kind of beer that was specially made for people who can't drink alcohol. So it's was a kind of alcohol-free beer, a kind, because there was some alcohol in it. between 1 and 4 percent alcohol. The most popular table beer was Piedboeuf, it had 1.1 percent alcohol in it and there was a lot of sugar added to make it as sweet as Coca-Cola. A good marketing strategy made that it was well distributed in almost all schools in Belgium. The reason was that it would be very healthy for them, because of the natural ingredients and of course the sugar. It would make them grow fast and strong. It would even be good for pregnant women and for women that were breastfeeding their baby'

How the Belgians founded New York

In order to avoid any confusion in this story, it is important to know that in the sixteenth century, the Netherlands covered a part of northern France and Lorraine, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the present Netherlands. Its inhabitants were called the Belgians, and the maps represented the country in the shape of a lion: the "Leo Belgicus". Besides, numerous maps from the sixteenth century showed this territory under the name of Belgium. The latter failed into disuse for the benefit of the Netherlands and only reappeared in 1789 on the occasion of the first Belgian revolution. In 1831 Belgium became an independent country. Today Belgium is a lot smaller and is divided into two big regions mostly based on the language they speak in that particular region. In the north, there is Flanders where they speak Flemish (Dutch) and in the south, there is the Walloon part where they speak French. Almost in the center and between the two parts is the region of the capital Brussels.

A secret medieval street in Antwerp

The Vlaeykensgang is a unique small street in the center of Antwerp. Hidden between two busy Antwerp streets and close to the Cathedral. This medieval times street can easily be walked past unnoticed. Behind its meter-wide entrance, there is an oasis. A step into the passage with its quiet courtyards transports visitors back in time, back to the 15th and 16th centuries. Picture by Harry Fabel Previously, the street was the domain of shoemakers, who had to sound the alarm bell of the Cathedral, also some of the poorest people of the city lived in that very small street. Now you will find antique shops, art galleries, and an exclusive restaurant, Sir Anthony Van Dyck. There is a subdued atmosphere and the street is a popular place to listen to the cathedral's summer carillon concerts. At its heart, you find the Axel Vervoordt Gallery. Picture by Harry Fabel The "Vlaeykensgang" exists as a key piece of Antwerp’s architectural and sociological history, offering a rar