Build / Mobile development
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Bruges is one of the most idyllic cities in Belgium. Many tourists visit the beautiful city center, with its lovely bridges and small rivers circling through the streets every day. Aside from being a nice place to visit, Bruges is home to over 100 000 inhabitants. The idea for a city application was born to get closer to these residents.

  • React Native
  • Node.js

The issue

Bruges already had a website where residents could make appointments at the city hall, file reports, find information, and check the latest news. A portal for the residents to communicate with the city they live in. Still, Bruges noticed that this didn’t suffice for the entire population. Through an extensive study, they gauged the needs of their target audience: the people of Bruges. And they felt it was time to look for other ways to communicate with their residents; insert a custom digital application.

What we did

Starting from the survey, we created the digital product that best answered the needs of Bruges’ inhabitants. A custom digital application with carefully selected features, built around two specific actions: making an appointment and registering a report.

Where making appointments becomes child’s play

Every year, over 40 000 appointments are made at the city hall of Bruges. The appointments made via their website will now be simplified to just a few clicks in the application. We integrated more than 160 services into the application; for 60 of them, you can immediately make an appointment in the app.

For some of the services, getting in touch with an employee of the city is inevitable. E.g. to request a Kids ID or to register a marriage, you still need to be physically at the city hall. The app lets you immediately see the available locations, dates, and times to book your appointment.

Thanks to the digital app, making appointments becomes child’s play. The city is persistent in its digital-first strategy. They want to give the residents a place to meet with an employee. With this application, they invested in providing tools to the right audience.


The city is persistent in its digital-first strategy, not a digital-only one. We want to provide the right tools for the right audience, while maintaining a high service level – be it online or offline.

Koen Note Directeur Communicatie & Citymarketing at Stad Brugge

Custom and aligned

Bruges specifically chose to build a custom-made application, even though white-label applications exist for cities to implement. Why is that? Since Bruges did thorough research toward the needs of their target audience, the inhabitants of their city, they were able to discover exactly what that audience needs. A white-label application wouldn’t suffice. Bruges wanted to add its flair, implementing only the necessary services and allowing themselves to add unique and important custom functionalities not offered by the white-label solution. Above all, the application had to compliment and augment the existing offer, both online and offline.

This was the right choice for them, but we advised Bruges to build the application with the same technology as is used throughout application development by the Flemish government. This will make it easy to, if desirable, implement features from that application into the Bruges app, which will provide them with endless possibilities in the future.

Miles apart, small bridges to cross

We started the project at the beginning of 2022. With a lot of - physical - distance between the teams, live meetings were limited to a minimum. But that didn’t stand in the way of a great collaboration. As we already mentioned, Bruges was well-prepared before we even started the project. They did their research, knew what they wanted, and thoroughly understood their users’ needs. This allowed us to take big steps forward in the first weeks of the project.

Since there were multiple integrations in the application, like Omnitracker for making reports, JCC for appointments, and the API of Bruges itself, we experienced some challenges along the way. These integrations made the - easy looking application - more complex than you might think. Thanks to open communication and flexibility on both sides, we could get through and deliver a great product in time for the official launch.


There may have been some problems, but as long as we have more solutions, there is no reason to panic.

Maarten Anckaert Backend developer at icapps

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