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  • Writer's pictureTammy Lowe

Interesting Fact of the Day...

The Bruges Swans


It's 1482.


Mary of Burgundy is in a tragic horse accident while on a hunting trip to Bruges in Flanders.


Mary is the wife of Emperor Maximilian of Austria.


Upon learning the news, Emperor Max hops on his horse, rushing to her side. He arrives...only to discover his beloved wife, Mary, has died.


Overcome with grief, he unleashes his anger on the people of Bruges, for he now despises the city where his wife died.


Wanting them to suffer, as he now suffers, Emperor Max takes away privileges and imposes heavy taxes. He instructs his right-hand man, Pieter Lanchals, to enforce his wrath.


Now, the awesome thing about Flemish people historically is...they don't put up with any crap.


What did they do?


Well, first they arrested the right-hand man, Pieter Lanchals.


Then, when Emperor Max comes back to Bruges, they basically give him the middle finger...before throwing him in jail too.


From the Emperor's prison cell overlooking the market square, he is forced to watch the townsfolk torture and behead Lanchals.


Then, the people of Bruges let Emperor Max go, booting him out of town.


Of course, the emperor is irate at the murder of Pieter Lanchals.


"Bruges...I condemn you," Maximillian cries out before fleeing to Austria. "You are henceforth cursed to keep *Lanchals* forever...and may they breed in your canals for all time," he hisses.


Lanchals means "Long Neck" in Old Dutch.


And, Pieter Lanchal's family coat of arms included a swan.


To this day, you can still find the legendary "Lanchals" in the canals of Bruges— the swan city.



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