National Lottery celebrations in Bruges

National Lottery games like Lotto exist in many countries.  If you have predicted the right numbers and luck is on your side, you stand to win a tidy sum, but did you know that in the Low Countries this game of chance originated on a market in Bruges?

To mark the 580th anniversary Belgium’s National Lottery, a not-for-profit organisation, is staging a raft of events.

It was only recently that a document confirming the birth of the lottery in Bruges came to light in the city archives of the West Flemish capital.

City accounts dating from 1441-1442 show the first mention of a lottery being organised in the Low Countries. The West Flemish capital was one of the most prosperous cities in Europe in medieval times and this certainly helps to explain why people were offered an opportunity to turn rags into riches.

Belgium’s National Lottery is staging a raft of events in Bruges from 1 to 4 December.  There is a free Carmina Burana outdoor concert on the Burg at 9:30PM on 3 December, though reservation is required.

At 1PM, 3PM and 5PM on 4 December at the foot of the belltower on Bruges market square you can witness an historical re-enactment of a medieval lottery draw.

You can also join a historical walk through the centre of Bruges that takes you along all the most important places in this prosperous city, including markets, squares, gates, and palaces.  The walk is on till 27 February.

Finally, an exhibition covers the history of the lottery and includes a virtual reality film of the very first Lotto draw.

For more information log onto the National Lottery website.

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