About the Bruges Triennial

Every three years the Bruges Triennial brings contemporary art and architecture to the historic city centre of Bruges: a unique setting and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Every three years the Bruges Triennial brings contemporary art and architecture to the historic city centre of Bruges: a unique setting and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since 2015 it has built further on the series of triennials put together in 1968, 1971 and 1974 that brought visual arts into the public domain. In each edition, the artistic team invites regional and international artists and architects to submit new temporary installations. Some dozen of these works of art and meeting places always engage in an active dialogue with their surroundings: alongside waterways, in cobbled streets, in peaceful places of worship or on vacant lots. For visitors, it will be a summer-long exploration, following a unique and inviting trail with a social aspect.

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In TraumA, the Bruges Triennial delves into the city’s uncanny history and actuality. Historical layers are laid bare, forgotten and hidden storylines are exposed and discussed. This edition wanders the thin line between dream and trauma, between heaven and hell. It appeals to the imagination, responding to the pomp and the splendour, but also to the ‘unheimliche’ simmering just below the surface. Because, although Bruges may seem to be a dream destination, poverty, loneliness, pollution and anxiety are constantly lurking in this seemingly picture-perfect world. Via artistic and architectural spatial interventions, the Bruges Triennial 2021: TraumA also brings out the less attractive aspects of our heritage city and makes them part of the cityscape. It generates a multi-voiced discourse, in which there is room for imagination, beauty, darkness and complexity, a space where artists and architects can explore both the spotlit centre stage and the dark and dusty wings. The Bruges Triennial 2021: TraumA hovers between the revealed and the concealed, the open and the hidden. With its trail of sculptural, architectural and organic creations, it celebrates the vitality and versatility of this our city: moving between public and private, between dream and nightmare.

TraumA will take place from May to September 2021.



  • Till-Holder Borchert

  • Michel Dewilde

  • Els Wuyts

  • Santiago De Waele


Liquid City

Triennial Bruges 2018: Liquid City reaches back to the theme of 2015, which was a reflection on the city as a megapolis. This time, however, we go a step further: how flexible, liquid and resilient can a historic city like Bruges be in an age when nothing seems to be certain any longer? The world is changing rapidly. Established ways of thinking and forms of life are under pressure. What does the future hold?

The Bruges Triennial invited international artists and architects to think about these questions. Many of them sought inspiration for their work in the role of liquidity in the city that is literally criss-crossed and surrounded by water. The waterways that once earned Bruges its international renown, become a metaphor for Liquid City. A series works of art, installations and meeting places have been put up in the city centre. They form a hospitable route that brings people together in unexpected spots. That is indeed one of the objectives of the Bruges Triennial 2018: generating encounters, challenging people not only to view the artworks but also to experience them and to become part of the creative process.


Bruges as a megapolis

Every year, five million tourists visit Bruges. What if they all decided to stay? What if a small, preserved, historic city should suddenly become a megapolis? This is the premise for the Bruges Contemporary Art and Architecture Triennial 2015.

This scenario opens up a plethora of possibilities and challenges. Would a small city be capable of coping with the dynamics of a metropolis? And conversely: could a city on a human scale contribute to a new, better form of urbanism? Eighteen international artists went to work on this idea. They created new works that can be viewed on an art trail through the centre of Bruges. The artists pose questions and reflect on the future and potential of the city, of urbanisation, citizenship, lifestyle, community, economics, energy, space, sound and the values that guide us.

Three indoor exhibitions illustrate the concept of ‘city’ – in visions, dreams and real-life images – as a living, growing and evolving organism. Explore the streets and canals of the city, unleash your imagination and discover a side of Bruges that you never knew existed.


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