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Take a dip in the Brussels canal this Sunday

10:38 05/07/2018

A group of committed outdoor swimmers will jump into the Brussels canal on Sunday in an ongoing campaign to reintroduce public open-air swimming to the Belgian capital.

The seventh edition of the Big Jump BXL is part of a bigger Europe-wide initiative. The event was first introduced by the European Rivers Network in 2002 as a way to remind people to protect the rivers, lakes and wetlands. Since then, more than 200,000 people in 34 countries at over 2,000 events have participated.

Anyone interested in taking part in Sunday's swim should meet at the landing dock of Adeps rowing club in Anderlecht at 15.00. A bicycle tour is also being organised, setting off from the Bourse at 13.30 towards Anderlecht.

It is currently illegal to swim in the canal, but campaign group Pool is Cool says it has had no problems in the past.  “Whoever jumps into the water for a swim does so on his/her own responsibility,” organiser Paul Steinbrück said. “Whoever joins the Big Jump does it as a statement towards the Brussels authorities and politicians that open-air swimming is something that’s missing in Brussels.

"It might need some civil disobedience to express this urge for outdoor swimming. That’s what we are working on with our actions, research and projects. The elections in the autumn and spring will play an important role."

Families and children are welcome, and a professional lifeguard will be on-site to oversee the swimmers. Before the event, Pool is Cool conducts tests to ensure the canal’s water quality complies with regulations for safe swimming water. A changing booth and improvised shower will also be available.

Written by Hannah Rodriguez