Bike Touring Highlight (Segment)
In 1134, a storm surge tore a shipping channel into the Zwin bay, so that the city of Bruges, about 15 kilometers inland, had direct access to the North Sea. Thanks to this lake access, Bruges was an important trading center in the Middle Ages. However, the Zwin driveway silted rapidly from the 15th century and could not be restored even with hydraulic engineering measures. Bruges also lost importance with direct access to the sea. By 1600, Bruges was only a provincial town. The economic decline continued into the 19th century. Around 1870 Bruges was again completely surrounded by land masses. The emerging industry in the city, however, increasingly demanded a restoration of the formerly existing direct connection to the North Sea, especially in order to be able to handle trade with England more effectively. From 1892, therefore, began the expansion of the new overseas port Zeebrugge, after initial planning for it was already worked out from 1866. The first harbor complex was inaugurated in 1907 by the Belgian King Leopold II.
During the First World War Zeebrugge was occupied by the German Reich and used as a submarine base of Flotilla Flanders. Therefore, the British planned in 1917 an advance towards Zeebrugge, but failed. On April 23, 1918, the Royal Navy made an unsuccessful attack on the naval base. After the end of the First World War, the railway ferry connection was recorded in 1924 in the English port of Harwich. But it was only in the last third of the 20th century that the port of Bruges-Zeebrugge came to full bloom. In 1968, the first full container ship and the first large tanker landed here. Three years later, the ocean container terminal opened. In 1984, the commissioning of a second sea lock (Vandamme sea lock).
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