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Best of Brussels: Le Wolf and SeeU among Visit Brussels award winners
Tourism and promotions agency Visit Brussels has announced the winners of its awards for 2019. The annual Visit Brussels Awards recognises the best events, initiatives and experiences in the capital region during the previous year.
“Countless Brussels stakeholders contribute to the world renown of the European capital through their daily work and original initiatives,” said Visit Brussels in a statement. “The purpose of the awards is to encourage and reward the projects that have contributed most to the promotion of Brussels.”
The public also has a say in who wins: A public vote whittles down projects nominated projects to three each in nine categories. Then a jury chooses the winner in each category based on several criteria: their impact on tourism in Brussels, international promotion of the capital, originality, sustainability and accessibility for people with reduced mobility.
Winning best international event was the Grand Départ, which saw the Tour de France embark from Brussels for the first time in 61 years. Some 75,000 people from Belgium and abroad took to the capital for the first of several days of Tour de France activities.
The best international congress, meanwhile, went to The European Week of Regions and Cities, the annual event that sees representatives from across the EU descend on the capital to discuss their capacity to create growth and jobs and the importance of local and regional level authorities to good European governance.
Many would agree with Visit Brussels’ choice of best gastronomic concept: Le Wolf, the new food market in the centre of the city. Home to 18 eateries and bars, a chocolatier, a dessert counter, a juice bar, a micro-brewery and an organic market, Wolf offers a foodie experience to fit everyone.
Another good call was awarding Recyclart 2.0 with the best new event or venue of 2019. After the popular club that seamlessly blends arts, music and social initiatives was forced to abandon its long-time home under the Chapelle train station because of new fire safety regulations, Molenbeek offered it an empty building on Rue de Manchester, just off the canal. Fears of homelessness were put to rest, as Recyclart revamped the place in record time. Besides the event space, there’s a bar, veggie restaurant and offices.
The same can be said of choosing SeeU as the best public initiative. It has seen the old and abandoned police barracks in Ixelles transformed into a fabulous little community of some 50 initiatives. Cultural associations, businesses and academia mix to experiment with various ideas and host public events.
Best evening experience, meanwhile, went to the third edition of Nuits Sonores & European Lab, an event that is part forum, part dance party. While the kick-off European Lab features conferences, debates and citizen initiatives that shed light on the political, economic and digital developments in the cultural and creative sectors, the Sonores puts it all into action, with concerts, performance art and electro raves.
The most noted exhibition was The World of Bruegel in Black and White at the KBR, which offered the rare opportunity to see Bruegel’s prints up close.
Best new hotel went to Hotel Indigo, which opened a bit more than a year ago. The hotel is full of plants and earth tones, with a botanical theme that seeps into every room – and even onto its facade. It stands in stunning contrast to the glass and steel office buildings that tower above the bustling Place Rogier.
And finally, the award for new sustainable tourism went to Un autre Bruxelles, Bruxelles des Autres, an alternative guidebook to the capital’s neighbourhoods produced by 20 organisations active in social cohesion through French-language learning.
Photo ©Dirk Waem/BELGA