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Brussels Explained: Join our online sessions throughout September to better understand the city

10:18 01/09/2020

Will citizen participation help steer Brussels through the coronavirus crisis? What's the history of the city's Pride parade? And why has the Justice Palace been covered in scaffolding since the 1980s?

These are just some of the questions that will be tackled in the new series of Brussels Explained, an eye-opening and interactive set of talks in September that aim to help us better understand the city in which we live.

The first Brussels Explained event, held in real-life at De Buren last October, was a big success - and now the event has gone online, allowing for even more interactivity, as participants can ask questions in real time via Facebook Live.

Four experts will deliver a short presentation on a different aspect of city life - followed by plenty of opportunity for questions and answers. Each session takes place on Wednesday evenings and lasts about half an hour.

The event is jointly organised by The Bulletin, Flemish-Dutch culture house De Buren, the non-profit Curieus vzw and freelance journalist Selma Franssen.

"I'm an expat myself," says Franssen, who moved to Brussels from the Netherlands seven years ago. "There are so many questions I have about the city - things that you talk about with friends, but no one really knows the answer.

"I think that goes for many people who live here. They're the kind of things that you should Google - but it's more fun to actually hear somebody explain it. Understanding the city better helps you feel at home."

In the first talk, on 9 September, Bruzz journalist Jasmijn Post will look at how Brussels is tackling a possible second wave of coronavirus and the role of citizen participation.

Alan De Bruyne, a former coordinator of Belgian Pride, will talk on 16 September about the event's history and the ongoing fight for LGBTQI+ rights and changing societal views.

The Bulletin editor-in-chief Sarah Crew looks at the mental health challenges facing expats in Belgium (23 September). Finally, Flanders Today editor-in-chief Lisa Bradshaw gets behind the story of why the ubiquitous scaffolding on Brussels' Justice Palace has been a part of the city's skyline for the past 35 years, and whether it will ever be removed (30 September).

After the event, each explainer will be published as a podcast and you can also hear extracts from the talks on The Bulletin's Sunday lunchtime radio programme on Bruzz.

Brussels Explained, Wednesday evenings from 9-30 September, 19.30-20.00, on Facebook Live

Written by The Bulletin