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Summer Wonders! New Brussels event brings urban holiday garden to city centre
A new festive seasonal event is set to provide tourists and Brussels’ residents with a free urban vacation from 14 July to 6 August.
Located in Place De Brouckère and Place Fontainas, Summer Wonders offers a programme of live music, DJ sets, afterwork events, sports activities and a large-scale art installation evoking an exotic garden.
A range of food and drinks options, including bars, barbecues and brunches are also designed to tempt visitors to the event.
It’s organised by the Brussels Major Events (BME) team that stages the Winter Wonders seasonal festivities. The new initiative boasts a budget of €350,000 and is designed to attract tourists as well as locals who don’t have the opportunity to travel during what is traditionally a vacation period for the capital and the country.
Inclusive and accessible
Summer Wonders was hailed as a leading example of sustainability, accessibility and inclusiveness at a presentation in Brussels on Tuesday. The city’s alderwoman for culture and tourism Delphine Houba (PS) said the central idea of the concept was to "reinvest these public spaces by making them new meeting places" that are accessible to all.
Free culture and sports activities
In addition to the joint cultural and sports programming, 'safe zones' with specially-trained staff are being provided. Inclusiveness, according to Houba, also implies opening the city-centre to all Brussels residents. "It's important to show everyone in our neighbourhoods that culture and sport is for them too, it's for everyone," she said.
A key element to the event is the provision of sports activities. Brussels alderman for climate and sports Benoît Hellings (Ecolo), echoed his colleague’s message: "The idea is to enable many people from Brussels who cannot go on vacation to learn about all kinds of sports."
Organised in partnership with local sports clubs, the event aims to introduce residents to new sports that they may want to continue during the rest of the year. Sport is not only important for keeping in shape, but also creates social ties between people, added Hellings.
The new sunny version of the popular city event is due to open its doors on 14 July at midday with an official inauguration planned at 17.30. A concert will follow with a performance by Santa, the singer of the French electronic pop rock group Hyphen Hyphen.
The city’s other free seasonal activity, Summer Pop, is also scheduled this year. It takes place in three neighbourhoods: Versailles in Neder-Over-Hembeek, Brigittines in the Marolles and the Parvis Saint-Roch in the Northern quarter.