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Bruges red, the mythical color...

Which red type is now 'Brugs-red'? and where does it come from?


We are regularly asked to paint exterior carpentry work

the 'Brugs Rood' The question immediately arises as to what exactly this color is.

Very few people seem to know. It has a very long tradition, but the origin seems to be somewhat forgotten.


Facade in Bruges painted in Bruges red with green windows

A little story:


The history of our region begins around (approximately) the year 1300, when we received the first sources.


Around this time there are reports of a plant being grown in the polder areas of Bruges. Namely the madder crab or mee, from whose root the red dye alizarin could be obtained. The plant was probably introduced to our region by the Romans and its cultivation was encouraged by Charlemagne. Today there is little left of it because a synthetic replacement for this pigment was found at the end of the 19th century, which meant that cultivation was no longer profitable.



Which red?


We now know that the pigment was readily available in Bruges' Ommeland, meaning it was commonly used to make paint.


Wooden window in Bruges in Bruges red with white putty

There must have been some formulas circulating among painters or color mixers, but it's safe to assume that many made their own version of the red. Even pigments made from natural materials are never consistent in quality and color. Weather and pollution also affect the colors. The red color is also known as Turkish red and Kraplak.


The introduction of synthetic pigments in the paint industry and their ease of use made many raw materials for natural pigments unnecessary.


Red appears often for Bruges; You can choose from RAL3016 or RAL3013, but this is not 100% certain, so you could just as easily choose a variant of an NCS fan.

So you actually still have the choice between different shades of red.





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