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Christmas tree to make short journey from garden in Dilbeek to Grand Place
Every year, the decision over which Christmas tree will take pride of place on the Grand-Place in Brussels is taken very seriously. The search for the perfect tree is usually long and meticulous, and sometimes goes way beyond Belgium’s borders. For instance, in 2014 the Brussels Christmas tree came all the way from Riga in Latvia, some 2,000km away.
This year, however, the tree is coming from somewhere very close to home. In fact, it is just 10km away from the capital in the front garden of Paul Vierendeels, a resident of Dilbeek.
The 18-metre-high spruce will be cut down by Inter-Arbo on Wednesday and then erected this Thursday morning on the Grand-Place. It is quite the honour for the tree which was planted in Vierendeels' garden by the previous owners of his house in the 1970s - and is also a proud moment for himself.
"As the tree became too big, I wanted to get rid of it, but it would be a shame to just have it cut down,” he said. “The fact that it will now be on the Grand-Place makes me incredibly proud."
"The tree was planted about 25 years ago by the former residents,” he continued. “But the spruce has become too big to leave it there any longer. In addition, it is very close to the house. It must therefore move on.” Vierendeels started to look into companies to remove the tree and finally settled on Inter-Arbo, who are based in Vlezenbeek and who commit to replanting 10 new trees for every one over five metres they cut down.
"I finally decided on Inter-Arbo which offers trees to different cities for the Christmas period,” he said. “The contact there immediately said he was going to offer it to Brussels, and that's what happened. I have seen all the previous Christmas trees which have been on the Grand Place and ours is certainly not inferior."
He travels to Brussels every week to walk around the city centre and he never misses the opportunity to visit the Christmas markets when they are open. "We are regularly in the capital,” he said. “On several occasions, I thought that our beautiful tree would look good on the Grand-Place." he said.
From Thursday this week, everyone visiting the Grand-Place will be able to make up their own minds.