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Floods: Bal National cancelled as Belgium declares day of mourning

14:30 16/07/2021

Cancelled last year due to coronavirus, the corny but wonderful Bal National, on the eve of Belgium’s national day, has been cancelled for a second consecutive year.

20 July has been designated as a national day of mourning for those killed in the floods which hit a large part of southern Belgium this week.

Brussels mayor Philippe Close said the Bal National would not go ahead, as a sign of respect and solidarity for the flood's victims. A book of condolences will be open at Brussels city hall from Saturday.

On the National Day itself, 21 July, there will be no fireworks display or Royal Park and upper town activities - but the Resto National, the big communal mussels and fries meal with entertainment, will take place as usual on the Place du Jeu de Balle with pre-reserved seats.

Traditionally, after the meal people have migrated towards the stage and participated in sing-alongs and dance-alongs. That not being possible this year the organisers are coming up with inventive alternatives including a seated conga line.

Of the federal events, the military parade is going ahead as planned. This year’s official ceremony will also pay tribute to Belgium’s “corona heroes” who have made a contribution to the fight against the pandemic.

Written by Richard Harris