About the Pageant of the Golden tree

The Pageant of the Golden Tree recounts the history of 15th-century Bruges and the county of Flanders. The pivotal figures in this 14th edition are also Margaret of York and Charles the Bold, with their wedding feast as the apotheosis of the Pageant.

Roots of the Golden Tree

To get to the heart of the Pageant of the Golden Tree, we must travel 555 years back in time. The date is 3 July 1468, the day Margaret of York and Charles the Bold were wed. This marriage – and the ten days of festivities – later entered the history books as the most spectacular marriage ever to take place in Bruges.

Many chroniclers tried and failed to find the words to accurately describe the pomp and circumstance of the event: from banquets with rare foods to wealthy delegations from all over Europe and the ‘Passage of Arms of the Golden Tree’ – a theatrical jousting tournament. It is to this glorious Passage of Arms that the Pageant owes its name.

Growth of the Pageant of the Golden Tree 

The Pageant of the Golden Tree didn’t just sprout up overnight. Many events preceded the Pageant as we know it today. We’ve split them into four major phases:

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A.D. 2024

Seven years later, the Pageant of the Golden Tree is back! The 2024 Pageant will include over 1,500 roles, more than 10,000 props, 7 floats, and monumental sculptures. New swords, shields, helmets, harnesses, rich robes, medieval tones, and a small army of Bruges zotten (jesters) to introduce the renewed narrative to the audience, a narrative about our city, about its wars, its peace, its wealth and plagues, but above all its festivities. With its new Golden Tree, the Pageant will shine like never before.

Same trunk, new branches 

After the last Pageant of the Golden Tree in 2017, a decision was made to give the 1958 Pageant a modern makeover. The Pageant needed to become more discernible for both the people of Bruges and visitors, with more interaction and dynamism. Moreover, Brugge Plus is committed to far-reaching partnerships.

So, starting with this edition onwards, the Pageant will be divided into four chapters. The first chapter covers Margaret of York’s arrival in Bruges. Then, in chapter 2, she delves into the history of Bruges and Flanders as a new resident of the city. The third chapter details the wedding party, giving us a picture of the guests at the wedding, the extravagant banquet, and the infamous Passage of Arms of the Golden Tree. In the fourth chapter, we conclude the Pageant with some breathtaking sculptures that make the connection between the Middle Ages and today.

So, even though the Pageant of the Golden Tree has been revamped, the Pageant as the citizens of Bruges know it will remain recognisable. Historical characters and scenes such as those of Charles the Good, Count of Flanders; Jan Breydel; Joan of Navarre, Queen of England; the Vikings; and the Crusades remain as present as ever. Some of the familiar floats are also being refurbished, as are the giant Finaert and the Golden Dragon

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Artistic team

  • Tom Ternest: artistic director 
  • Dominique Deckers: director 
  • Evelyne Meersschaut: costumes 
  • Katrijn Van Aelst: props 
  • Giovanni Vanhoenacker: scenography 
  • Mieke De Meyer: music 
  • Hendrik Van den Abeele: music
  • Aline Hopschet: music
  • Benjamin Boutreur: Golden Tree Song composer
  • Elise Eeraerts: visual arts
  • Jan Dumolyn: historical advisor
  • Jan Vromman: Pageant expert
Takken

About Brugge Plus vzw

Brugge Plus is the non-profit organisation behind the Pageant of the Golden Tree, with its roots in another NPO, Brugge 2002, European Capital of Culture. The aim of Brugge Plus, on behalf of the city of Bruges, is to make culture accessible to all residents and visitors, with hospitality and sustainability at its core. As such, the NPO continuously works on cultivating a positive image of Bruges as a modern, inclusive, and dynamic city of culture.

Brugge Plus’s activities are mono- or multidisciplinary and are held in public spaces, and the organisation thereof is always based on the core values of quality, participation, and sustainability. We organise social and cultural events and projects at the (inter)national, regional, and local levels.

Events range from music and circus artistry to contemporary arts. The Pageant of the Golden Tree, Cirque Plus, Feest in ’t Park, Uitwijken, Film op het Strand, Lichtfeest Lissewege, Iedereen Klassiek, Krikrak, Wintergloed, Reiefestival, and the Bruges Triennial are all organised by Brugge Plus.