BAPS President, Richard Stewart welcomes you to Bruges

Richard Stewart headshot

Welcome to BAPS 67th annual International Congress in the historic city of Bruges. Founded by the Vikings in the 9th century its name is thought to derive from the old Scandinavian word ‘Brygga’ meaning ‘harbour’.  The city became important due to the tidal inlet of the river Zwin linking the settlement to the North Sea and lead to its establishment as an important commercial centre.

Famous Belgian figures include Andreas Vesalius the 16th anatomist, author of one of the most famous books on human anatomy “De humani corporis fabrica” and Georges Lemaître, Jesuit priest and astronomer, who first proposed the theory of an expanding universe. Fictional characters may be even better known and include Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie’s famous Belgian detective and TinTin the reporter and adventurer who traveled around the world with his dog Snowy.

Bruges is distinguished by its canals and medieval buildings including Old St John’s hospital where our congress is based which has an eight hundred-year-old history of caring for pilgrims, travellers, the poor and the sick. In fact it only closed as a medical facility in 1976!

This years congress promises a stimulating programme commencing with post-graduate symposia on Wednesday morning followed by “Hot Topics” and prize sessions during the afternoon.

That evening I look forward to welcoming you to the ‘President’s Reception’ in Bruges concert hall which offers a magnificent view of the medieval city from its roof top terrace.

On Thursday in addition to the Storz and JPS Lectures we will hold an Anorectal malformation symposium and run workshops on managing stress and planning for retirement. There will also be an “Escape Room” to test your surgical and team working skills.

On Friday morning we repeat last year’s popular Global Surgery section followed by a novel session – “The Surgical Jungle: I’m in trouble get me out of here!”.  After lunch I’m delighted to welcome our colleagues from BARD who will join us for a joint session during the afternoon.

That evening I invite you to join us at the De Halve Maan brewery for this years Gala dinner that promises to be a very sociable event.

I hope you will stay to enjoy the delights of Bruges over the weekend and look forward to meeting you.

Richard Stewart

President of BAPS