Every two years pandemonium descends on the Grand-Place or Grote Markt of Brussels when almost 1 million flowers are used to create the worlds biggest flower carpet. The flower carpet is a well loved tradition in Brussels attracting many diverse people to the city centre for a cultural celebration of the colour and diversity of our city.
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300 flowers are crammed into every square meter of Grand-Place meaning that around 850,000+ flowers will be used for the entire carpet. They are crammed so tightly (without soil) so that even during a storm the flowers wont be blown away. They are protected by their own microclimate so that in heat waves (like we’ve got at the moment) or wet weather the whole carpet wont wilt and die before the end of its 5 day display. It takes a team of 120 volunteers 4 hours to assemble the flower carpet but months and months of planning have taken place beforehand with the designers who decide on the theme, produce scale models and then calculate the exact proportions of flowers in each colour which are needed to make the full size version.
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The theme of this years carpet is Africa and has been inspired by amazing designs of African clothing featuring designs from the tribes of Ethiopia, Congo, Nigeria, Botswana, and Cameroun. Previous themes include the Art Nouveau movement, Flemish Renaissance, Louis XIV, Turkey, the European Union, the Liberation of Brussels and Mozart.
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Even if gardening isn’t really your thing the carpet is well worth a visit just because of its huge scale and colourful atmosphere, and its free to go and see! One of the best views, however, can be had from the balcony of the Town Hall; it costs €5 to enter the building and gain access to the balcony but its well worth the aerial view of the carpet to see it in all its technicoloured glory. Every evening at 10, 10.30 and 11pm there is a light and lazer show with great African music celebrating this years theme. The exhibition is only open for 5 days; from the 14th till the 19th of August so you’ll have to move fast if you want to catch it but its open from 9am until 11pm meaning that you should be able to find a time to avoid the crowds!
Photos by myself, Michal Osmenda no. 4, andreroseta no. 3, 5, 6, 8 and viulian no.7
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lorna stokes This post was written by Lorna Stokes, part of the travelettes team from 2009 to 2013.
Originally from the UK but currently based in Brussels after stints in Canada, Peru, Italy and a job for the French military, she’s always had an unquenchable thirst for exploring new places! She’s still travelling the world with her family so catch up with her adventures on Instagram & Twitter.
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