The Story of Geert Dumoulin, regular visitor to Bruges

Geert Dumoulin enjoying Bruges by wheelchair

“I don’t have to stay in the main shopping street anymore”

My name is Geert Dumoulin, aged 55. I am married and father of 5 children. Since I had a car accident when I was 22, I spend my life in a wheelchair.

As a passionate construction worker I had never expected that there would be so many barriers: roads and boardwalks in a poor condition, lacking signage, inaccessible entrances and barely any public accessible toilets.

Visiting Bruges wasn’t easy, then. Usually, we would only walk in the main shopping street, because I didn’t want to be confronted with inaccessibility all the time. Historical buildings typically had a main entrance with steps and practically never a ramp or an alternative entrance. Shops, pubs and restaurants didn’t have an accessible toilet. And if they had it, nobody knew. I was lucky to have a partner who could assist me.

Today, the websites www.visitflanders.com/accessibility and (in Dutch) www.toevla.be provide the necessary (checked) information to help you organise a trip or holiday.

The map and brochure ‘Bruges accessible for everybody’ help so much. The itinerary leads almost seamlessly to the highlights of the city. The description of points of interest, restaurants, pubs, etc. is a must-read. Public toilets are described in a clear way, with photographs, starting from the path towards them. For accommodation, accessibility labels are used, with more information in the specific brochures from Visit Flanders.

So, when I visit Bruges now, I don’t have to stay in the main shopping street anymore!

Find out more about how Bruges is being made accessible to visitors by reading the factsheet.