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Brussels cancels Christmas market - but light festival can go ahead
The City of Brussels has confirmed that the edition of the Winter Wonders will not take place in its usual form - but all is not lost.
The Christmas market - which normally attracts approximately two million visitors and regularly appears on top-10 lists of festive markets around the world - will not take place. The city has cancelled it despite the major economic impact this will have.
"Getting together is very limited these days and we need more than ever to feel supported and to have our spirits lifted," said mayor Philippe Close. "So the eighth edition of Brussels By Lights will proceed as scheduled."
This year 142 streets and boulevards (11 more than last year) will be illuminated and there will be complex lighting installations that people can enter. On the Grand-Place the traditional Christmas tree and nativity scene will be installed and a brand new sound and light show will take place every evening.
Alderwoman for culture, tourism and major events Delphine Houba said: "Of course the most important thing is for us all to remain in good health.
"However, at the same time I feel that it is essential that we be able to enjoy the magic of the holiday season and I wanted, with these decorations, to thank all the inhabitants of Brussels for their perseverance and efforts."
The city is keeping its fingers crossed that once this six-week shutdown is over, the stores will be able to be open for the holidays and that Brussels By Lights will be a well-deserved festive background for shoppers and strollers.
Photo: Nicolas Maeterlinck/Belga