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Gnomes removed from Walloon roundabout due to safety concerns

21:36 06/09/2022

A roundabout in Wallonia that had been filled with garden gnomes has been cleared by public authorities because it was "becoming too dangerous".

The roundabout in Enghien, Hainaut province, became home to more than 20 garden gnomes over the course of summer, placed anonymously by people presumed to live in the area or those passing by and feeling inspired by the sight.

"I discovered it one morning," one neighbour explained. "I thought: separately, a garden gnome or a roundabout is not very beautiful. But together they look good."

Other people seemed to agree, and various gnomes began appearing in the roundabout.

"One, two, three... It was a colourful sight, I thought it was nice," a passer-by said.

Another said that checking the roundabout for new gnomes became a regular and enjoyable activity for locals, and that some passers-by would stop and let their children touch the gnomes.

Up to 26 of the statues had taken up residence, at one point.

But the Walloon public services said that while the region isn’t against garden gnomes, "this roundabout was becoming too dangerous".

The craze raised safety issues, according to a spokesperson for the Walloon Public Infrastructure Service.

"We realised that there was a real sense of one-upmanship being spread on social networks," the spokesperson said.

"People were inviting each other to go and put more and more garden gnomes there. And so our teams intervened to prevent an accident from happening."

Written by Helen Lyons