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New permit refused for famous Coca-Cola sign in Brussels city centre

Illustration picture shows De Brouckere place pictured in Brussels, Friday 13 March 2020. (BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK)
09:21 18/11/2020

The days of the famous Coca-Cola sign at De Brouckère in Brussels appear to be numbered after state secretary for urban planning Pascal Smet indicated that a new licence for the huge advertising board would not be issued.

Everyone who visits Brussels knows the Coca-Cola sign that shines down on streets converging on De Brouckère square. The LED screen on the roof of the Continental building, which replaced analogue versions of the advert which had been located there for many years previously, has been there since 2011 and dominates the view from the pedestrian zone.

The screen has made numerous headlines in recent years, mainly because of complaints that it is too big and too bright, but also because the city administration had not initially applied for a permit for the new panel, which replaced an older billboard for the soft drink brand.

The permit application was finally submitted and approved, but that permit has since expired at the end of 2019.

Smet now sees this as an opportunity to make changes at De Brouckère by refusing a new permit and starting a debate about other intrusive advertising space in the area. "The current board is just too big,” he said. “Therefore, the application for a new permit has been refused, a decision which is binding.”

When the current Coca-Cola sign will be removed is not entirely clear. The panel in question swells the city’s coffers with its rental fee which, back in 2011 when it was erected, was already €10,000 per month.

Smet does not just want to remove the Coca-Cola board. He would like to start a debate with the Brussels administration about the presence of all advertising panels in the square, which is notorious for its garish advertising spaces. There is also a large screen on Place de la Monnaie, the future of which will also be discussed.

"Together with the City, we should decide if we still want advertising on that square,” said Smet. “If so, we want to determine which criteria it should meet. In terms of size, but also in style. The old nostalgic advertising, for example, was a lot more stylised and charming.” In the longer term, Smet wants to review all advertising on public roads in Brussels, both on municipal and regional roads.

Written by Nick Amies



THE BEST decision ever made! Besides destroying architectural beauty of the square, the sugary monster has created a lot of heath problems and should be banned from publicity in any public area and daytime TV plus heavily sugar taxed.

Nov 19, 2020 07:52

Pascal Smet is a... self-important pseudo-green do-gooder with dictatorial tendencies. And I should know: we had him as our minister of education, years ago.
Amusing afterthought?
"Een smet" in Dutch is a blemish, a stain, a blot in English...
Well, to be fair: "een smid / smed / smet" is a blacksmith.

Nov 19, 2020 11:03