The façade of City Hall, Source: City of Bruges

Bruges is looking for the company with the most authentic Dutch name in 2023

Bruges is looking for the company with the most authentic Dutch name in 2023

The initiative started in 2005, because there were a lot of nonsense business, restaurant and shop names in English

On Monday, the city of Bruges in Belgium announced a quirky contest to award a local company having the best authentic Dutch name. The contest was originally created in 2005 and according to an official statement, it was born to counteract the many new retail and catering establishments that used nonsense phrases in foreign languages as names.

The winners of the so-called Goeiendag (Good Day) contest will be announced on 11 July, while submissions will be open until 5 June. Anyone can submit a candidate, and these will be evaluated by the local Commission for Topography and Street Names.

Looking for original ideas

English is the most spoken language in the world and has a way of dwarfing other European languages, through the enormous output of UK and USA cultural industries. Consequently, this cultural capital often manifests itself as the language cropping up in business, shop and restaurant names.

Yet, according to local authorities in Bruges, they can quite often be very silly and poorly thought out. This is why the city has decided to encourage businesses that have put more thought into their name, making it unique and most importantly written in the local Dutch language (also known as Flemish).

The contest is held once every two years and the winner gets 500 euros, but also a ‘certificate of authenticity’ from the city. Individuals or associations can also enter a name that has caught their eye. The names must have been given after the awarding of the previous prize in July 2021.

After the submission process is over on 5 June, a jury with members from the Urban Commission for Toponymy and Street Names will pick out the winner and announce the results on 11 July. The ceremony will be held in the Gothic Room of the town hall during the Feast of the Flemish Community.

There are some of the winning names in 2021 – warning, they are in Dutch. The previous laureate was the psychologist group practice Binnenruimte in Sint-Kruis. According to Wiktionary, it translates to "indoor space". We're guessing there's some play on words there. Vishandel Pieterman (from Sint-Andries) and the chip shop Godfriet (Bruges) received an honourable mention.



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