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Schuman Lights Up: a fortnight of festive cheer in the heart of Brussels' EU district
Think of a magical winter wonderland and Schuman roundabout is perhaps not the first place that comes to mind. But that is about to change, as Schuman Lights Up brings two weeks of festive cheer to Brussels' European quarter this Christmas.
There'll be a warm glow of lights, music and the sound of chatter over food and drink, as a vast heated marquee has been erected in the middle of the Schuman roundabout. From 29 November to 14 December, it will host a busy programme of themed events celebrating culture, food, wellbeing and more.
"Our aim is to bring life to this magnificent space in the centre of the European neighbourhood," says organiser Marion Wolfers from the Schuman Square association. "The European quarter suffers particularly from the consequences of Covid, especially with the rules on remote working. It needs special attention."
Slovenia celebrates its presidency of the European Union with an opening concert on 29 November from Eurovision candidate Ana Soklic, followed by a two-day Slovenian Festival (30 November-1 December) showcasing the country's nature, sport, culture and gastronomy.
Food and drink will also be in abundant supply at a special gourmet event on 7 December, when embassies and tourist offices will offer samples of their country's traditional produce.
On the weekend of 4-5 December, a participatory art project by ASBL Estampille is on display, on the theme of "our wishes and hopes for 2022". Other highlights include Eurochanukah, an evening of music offered by the European Jewish Community Centre on 2 December, a wellbeing day on 8 December with meditation, pilates and yoga, and salsa and bachata dance training sessions on 10 and 12 December.
Schuman Lights Up is part of a bigger initiative this winter by the City of Brussels and the Brussels-Capital region to attract visitors to the EU district. The Esplanade on the Rue de la Loi - between the Berlaymont and the Council building - will feature a large, dreamy interactive sound and light installation called the Sky Castle, which will be inaugurated on 30 November by Brussels councillor for economic affairs Fabian Maingain.
Meanwhile, all the trees on the Petite Rue de la Loi, from Schuman to Cinquantenaire park, will be lit up, and the shopping streets Rue Archimède and Rue Stevin will also be illuminated.
All of the festival's events are free and require the Covid Safe Ticket. Capacity will be limited.
Schuman Lights Up, 29 November-14 December