The Fools of Bruges

The story of the Brugse Zot dates back to the Middle Ages and the legend of Maximilian of Austria. After the death of his spouse Mary of Burgundy in 1482, Maximilian inherited the reing over the medieval Netherlands. Some of the Netherlander provinces were hostile tot Maximilian and this was no different in Bruges. The government of Maximilian was harsh and taxes were high, leading to public discontent.

When Maximilian visited Bruges in 1488, the people decided to revolt. They were able to imprison their monarch for over four months in Bruges. Out of vengeance, Maximilian imposed a prohibition to organize festivities and fairs. To calm him down, the people of Bruges decided to organize a celebration to honor Maximilian. Afterwards they asked him for permission to build a new mental hospital. Maximilian advised them to simply close the gates of Bruges, because the town was already filled with fools. 

Since that day the people of Bruges are known as 'the fools of Bruges' and this nickname is used several times in the town history. Brewery De Halve Maan found a cheeky way to remind the people of Bruges about their history and the

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