Brussels neighbourhood unveils city’s first nightlife charter

Brussels neighbourhood unveils city’s first nightlife charter
Rue du Marché au Charbon, in the Saint-Jacques neighbourhood

The Brussels’ Saint-Jacques neighbourhood, a preferred nightlife spot for members of the LGBTQ community, has created a nightlife charter, the first of its kind in the Belgian capital.

The charter, created by the neighbourhood's residents and businesses in partnership with the Brussels Region, sets out guidelines to better regulate excessive drinking and noise, as well as to fight discrimination and violence during nighttime party hours.

The charter is non-compulsory and it lays out a number of solutions to fight against discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation, for both the LGBTQ and the heterosexual communities.

Business and residents who adhere to it will be given a sticker to display on shop fronts and windows, and many of its signatories will put in practice measures to make partying in the neighbourhood fun and safe for everybody.

“Café-owners will make non-alcoholic drinks cheaper,” State Secretary Bianca Debaets told Bruzz, adding that many bars would also offer free contraceptives in order to promote safe sex.

Fifteen of the thirty business owners of the neighbourhood have already expressed an interest in signing it.

“I believe the charter will improve relationships with local residents,” the manager of Le Belgica, a bar in the neighbourhood, said.

Alongside with the charter, a plan to improve the repressive nature of potential police interventions is also under study.

According to Debaets, the goal is now for the charter to be applied in other neighbourhoods and municipalities beyond Brussels with an equally vibrant lifestyle: “Just think of Saint-Gilles or Ixelles.”

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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