Flower Carpet, Brussels
After the flower carpet in August it is also a long established tradition to plant a huge Christmas tree in the middle of the Grand Place.
In the Belgium Ardennes fir trees are very common and the "Abies nordmania" type is cultivated as Christmas tree and widely exported in the EU. The Christmas tree on the Grand Place was often sent as a present by Finland.
This Christmas 2012 the Brussels' authorities have decided to replace the "Sapin de Noël" by a metallic structure with lights.
This is supposed to be "contemporary art" and is rather ugly if compared with a natural fir tree. Furthermore it costs seven times more, what is not appreciated in a period of austerity and increasing taxes.
A petition with already 20.000 signatures was launched to protest against what is considered by a majority as an esthetic horror but also an aggression towards our Christmas traditions. The Christmas market is not called Marché de Noël anymore but "Plaisirs d'Hiver" winter pleasures.
In this petition and on forums - the matter has been widely discussed in the media - anger went so far that the Brussels' authorities were accused of "christianophobia" under the influence of the important Muslim community (25% of Brussels agglomeration inhabitants). For details type "Brussels bans christmas tree" on Google.
All this might sound strange for the tourists but it is an expression of an increasing cultural and identity dissatisfaction from the "autochthones".
"Ne touchez pas à notre Sapin" do not touch our Christmas tree!
It's better to book in time if you want to attend this flower carpet event. It's very crowded and all the hotels are taken. Next flower carpet in Brussels is between August, 15th-17th, 2010.
Be there to see something magical. Photos here: http://www.fleurslivraison.be/brussels-flower-carpet-articol54.php This kind of event happens once every two years, in the Grand Place. You maybe already know that this is the central market in Brussels. Each year, the artisans made the design different.
For sure, this is definitely one of the must sees of Brussels.
Every second year (even years), in mid August, the famous Grand Place is covered with flower carpets. Unlike in many other cities and towns across Europe, this is not a long lasting tradition, but a local initiative to boost tourism that started a few years ago pursuant to a local artist's suggestion. However, given the size of the carpet and the unique architectural framework that the Grand Place provides, this can be considere as one of the most spectacular flower displays to be seen in Europe.
The very same artist who came up with the idea is still in charge to surprise the audience every second year, as he is still the responsible of the design of the carpets, which are different on every occasion.
Thousands of begonias are used for the carpets and, since natural flowers as used, the exhibition is held only for a few days. In oddly hot years, part of the flowers had to be replaced.
Every two years, during the third week of August, Belgian begonia cultivators decorate the Market Place with a beautiful flower carpet. Every two years there is a different decoration theme. More than 700,000 fresh begonias are used to do this.
This year was the thirteenth edition of the giant begonia carpet, covering the Grand Place of Brussels every two years. This year's theme was Art Nouveau, and the carpet was inspired by a stained glass pattern by Victor Horta, the famous Belgian architect. 1,800 m² of begonia petals (more than 700,000 flowers !) composed this floral work of art from august 13th to 15th.
E. Stautemans, creator of the carpet, chose begonias because of their resistance to heavy rain and strong sunshine, and their ability to guarantee the freshness of the carpet. The flowers are tied together very closely, so they won't be blown away by the wind, and create their own microclimate.
Nope this is not my favorite event of the year.
But I was in the neighbourhood and I went to
have a look. The theme of the flower carpet 2004
was 'Art Nouveaux'. They inspired the design
on a glass stained window made by 'HORTA'.
And could it be that that is my favorite style in
architecture and among my favorite periods
in history. hmmm - I didn't recognized the
Horta-lines in the carpet and I don't like
'Belgian tuberous Begonias'.
But if you are in Belgium at that period...
go and have a look and close your eyes and
enjoy the classical music , life , free.
Just like I did.
Only every two years , next edition 2006 , 2008..
Ask it in the forum - it only remains for 3 days.