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Car-Free Sunday in Brussels and across Belgium on 19 September

14:10 06/09/2021

Brussels’ annual Car Free Sunday is coming up this month. A hugely popular day in the capital, it sees the entire region closed to vehicular traffic, except public transport.

What is it?

Car-Free Sunday is the annual day that encourages Brussels residents to leave their cars at home and explore alternative forms of transport. It takes place during European Mobility Week, an EU initiative for sustainable urban mobility that started in 2002. Mobility Week encourages more sustainable transport modes to reach social, economic, and environmental objectives.

Car-Free Day also offers residents the opportunity to see what their community looks like without traffic. To make the day as safe as possible, the capital also bans electrically powered forms of transport, so no electric bikes or scooters. Public transport, however, will be operating as usual.

When is it?

This year’s Car Free Sunday takes place on 19 September. Motorised vehicles cannot drive on any roads in the region between 9.30 and 19.00.

Are there activities?

Lots of them, especially in Brussels-City. Check your own municipality’s website for local events and activities.

What if I have to drive?

Plan not to. There is an official list of authorised vehicles allowed to operate on Car-Free Sunday, and they have to stick to a 30kph speed limit (except in cases of emergency).

  • Public transport (STIB, TEC, De Lijn)
  • Taxis
  • Emergency services
  • Vehicles of public interest and diplomatic corp
  • Press vehicles (with signage)
  • People who are disabled (with a card)

Residents both inside and outside of Brussels can request a pass to be allowed to drive in the capital on the day in exceptional circumstances, such as business deliveries or medical reasons. Because public transport and taxis operate on Car-Free Sunday, special requests are approved for extenuating circumstances only.

Is Car-Free Sunday only in Brussels?

Nope. Many other cities will also host Car-Free Sunday on 19 September, with events and activities such as street parties, bike tours, workshops, markets, skateboard parks and food trucks. Check municipal websites for complete information.

Photo ©Nicolas Maeterlinck/BELGA



Written by Rebecca Rommen


Frank Lee

"the annual day that encourages Brussels residents to leave their cars at home and explore alternative forms of transport."
It "encourages" you by making it illegal. It's as if restaurants were forbidden to serve alcohol in order to "encourage" us to be sober.

Sep 6, 2021 11:44

The only other form of transport I would consider on that day is a helicopter.
Honestly, this day is way to excessive. Fine to close a street or two to let people try what it feels like to fall of their bike. But don't shut down the city for everyone else. This is just not ok.

Sep 7, 2021 15:35

It's a great day. Yes parts of the city are chaotic and congested, but there are plenty or roads and spaces that you can explore and enjoy. Get out there and use the public transport to discover new places. Get on your bike, skateboard, unicycle, roller skates and enjoy the one day a year without the congestion and pollution of the car. To all the moaners out there - take part or sleep for the day and wake up when it's all over. :)

Sep 12, 2021 19:35