The Minnewaterpark and the nearby Lake of Love (Minnewater) is something of an oasis in the city of Bruges. Though not huge in area it has these lovely aspects, whether sitting on one of the benches or simply strolling by the park or leaning over the Lovers Bridge admiring the reflections.
The Bargebrug (bridge), a striking example of asymmetrical architecture, connects the outskirts of the town with Minnewaterpark. This surprising spot is the starting point of a visit to Bruges for many a tourist. The Minnewater (Lake of Love) and its lovely park (Minnewaterpark) is one of the first things they see in the city of Bruges, when arriving by train or coach.
This area is the perfect introduction to the city of Bruges.
The lake and surrounding park offer an excellent retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city`s sights and streets. The many resident swan couples form the finishing touch to it`s romantic character.
The coastal river Reie entered the city here. The river was canalized and made to continue to the centre of town. There are several explanations as where the name "Minnewater" comes from.
A legend tells the story of a young and pretty girl named Minna who was in love with Stromberg, a warrior of a neighbouring tribe. Her father did not agree with her love and arranged her to marry a man of his choice. Minna escaped and ran into the forest. When Stromberg finally found her, she died in his arms of exhaustion. The lake was named after Minna and the bridge by the lake was considered the bridge of love, in her honour.
The lake was used as a water reservoir. Water for the Canals enter the lake, fed from the Ghent and perimeter canals. The pink brick lockhouse (Sashuis) which overlooks the long rectangular basin, regulates the level of the canals in the city centre.
There is a lovely parkland (Minnewater Park) to the South East of the lake where you can get away from it all and walk off some calories if you've eaten too much of the lovely Belgian Chocolate!
To find peace and tranquility in a rather busy city, you need only to meander over to the "Minnewater" (Lake of Love) and its nearby park.
One of the symbols of Bruges is the swan. There are always plenty to be found on the Minnewater. The legend about the swans of Bruges: In 1488 the people of Bruges had executed one of the town administrators belonging to the court of Maximilian of Austria. The town administrator ,Pieter Lanchals, family coat of arms featured a white swan. Legend has it that Maximilian punished Bruges by obliging the population to keep swans on their lakes and canals till eternity.
The park here is also home to a number of festivals throughout the year, most notably the Cactus music festival (usually in July) when concerts take place on the grassy park area.
Click here to find more information on the 2016 festival.