|Grandeur, decadence and renaissance|
Charlier, R.H. (2005). Grandeur, decadence and renaissance. J. Coast. Res. 42: 425-447
In: Journal of Coastal Research. Coastal Education and Research Foundation: Fort Lauderdale. ISSN 0749-0208; e-ISSN 1551-5036, meer
Damme; tidal channel; inlet; transgression; Zeebrugge; Zwin
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Rise, fall and resurrection make up the life story of Bruges, a city that glittered in Northern Europe with as much panache as Venice did in the Mediterranean World. The fate of Bruges hung however on a thin thread: the navigability of the Zwin, a tidal channel that was navigable as far as Damme, where goods were transboarded to flat bottom boats for the remaining few kilometers to Bruges. But the Flanders' coast was the scene of several transgressions and if man managed fairly well to keep waters out of his settlements, there was nothing he could do-dredging not being a technique known at the time-to keep the Zwin waterway open for navigation. The size of ships and their draught did not help things either. And thus the splendid city slid gradually but inexorably in a commercial and political torpor. Its commerce and political power waned and its rival Antwerp became the largest city of the Western world and one of its largest ports. But the phoenix rose out of its ashes and with the creation of a harbor on the coast Bruges has regained an envied position not only as a prime touristic center, at a stone's throw of the coastal resorts, but also as a deep water port endowed with all the modern infrastructures.