© Toerisme Brugge | Jan D'Hondt

EuroMillions draw comes to Bruges

For the first time in its more than 17-year history the EuroMillions lottery draw is being held somewhere else than in a studio in Paris. The West Flemish city of Bruges will play host to Friday evening’s draw. The decision to hold the draw in Bruges has come about after the recent discovery of a document in the city’s archives that prove that the first every lottery that was open to all was held there 580 years ago in 1441.  Friday evening’s draw is taking places in Bruges’ historic Town Hall.


The National Lottery’s Joke Vermoere told VRT News that “nothing is being left to chance in order to let chance decide”.

Nothing can be allowed to influence the draw. “They are checking that there is no draught, noise or any vibrations in the hall. Evening the belfry bell will have to be silenced”.   

The very first lottery like modern-day lottery was held on Bruges’ central market square in 1441. At the time Bruges was the most important trading centre in the Low Countries.

However, “At the time the city was in difficulty as it had been fine after an uprising against the Duke of Burgundy”, Mary Terwisscha, a PhD medieval history student told VRT News.

“They would only have been able to pay the fine by raising excise duties, but they didn’t want to do this because of the impact it would have on the poor. As they still needed a way to pay for their schools and their hospital, they devised a lottery. It was a success from the outset and was organised again in the following years. The idea has been copied worldwide”.  

Although there were also lotteries held in ancient Rome. The lottery first held in Bruges in 1441 was the first that was open to anyone that could afford it.

First prize in the 1441 lottery was a job as the person responsible for transporting wine in the city. The job would provide them with a source of income that in time could taking on big proportions. However, the job was for men only. If a woman wone first prize she would be given a sum of money instead.


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