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    visit.brussels Awards 2015

    14-18, it's our history

    It is Brussels’ equivalent of the Oscars….the time each year when the best tourism initiatives and projects in this city are rewarded. This year, the quality of entries was higher than ever and, in that time honoured phrase much beloved of the famous film awards, The Brussels Times can reveal who “the winner is” for 2014.

    Actually, there was not one, but ten, winners announced on 26 March.

    And, as befits the top annual event for the Brussels tourism sector, the stage was a glittering awards and networking ceremony at the city’s Albert Hall.

    Entries covered a whole range of categories but the one thing each shared in common was that they have each in their own way contributed to the reputation of Brussels, both within the city and beyond.

    Nearly 8,500 people (2,000 more than last year) voted for 74 projects. Entries were judged on different criteria such as, is the project innovative or unique and, if so, how? How does it fit into a sustainable dynamic and, additionally, is it accessible to people with reduced mobility?

    Entries were judged by a panel made up of professionals from the tourism industry in Belgium.

    In the words of the judges, each of the winners, chosen from a shortlist whittled down to 27, were deemed to have “significantly improved” the quality of welcome the city gives to visitors and, in doing so, had contributed to Brussels’ international reputation.

    Just as with the Hollywood version, suspense for the visit.brussels Awards remained intense right up until the awards night.

    So, the victors are:

    “NEW CONCEPT”

    Nationa(a)l Expo Store

    Nationa(a)l is a temporary showcase of Belgian talent, a collection of trans- and inter-disciplinary Belgian pieces, laid out for the occasion in a surprising and innovative way.

    www.nationalstore.be

    EVENING EXPERIENCE”

    Boeremet

    Boeremet is an after-work event based exclusively on enjoyment, delicious food and meeting other people, all accompanied by great music.

    www.boeremet.be

    “MOST NOTED EXHIBITION”

    14-18, it’s our history

    For the centenary of the First World War, the Royal Museum of the Army and Military History, working with the Museum of Europe, presented a major exhibition, “14-18, it’s our history!”

    www.expo14-18.be

    “INTERNATIONAL EVENT”

    Brussels Jazz Marathon

    The Brussels Jazz Marathon is a weekend all about jazz with events on the Grand Place, Sablon, Place Sainte-Cathérine, Place Fernand Cocq and Place du Luxembourg.

    www.brusselsjazzmarathon.be

    “BEST GASTRONOMIC CONCEPT”

    Brussels Food Truck Festival

    The Brussels Food Truck Festival is probably the biggest event of its kind in Europe. For three days, Brussels becomes the stage for a new generation of catering artisans, culinary talent and passionate cooks.

    “NEW EVENT”

    Belgian Chocolate Village

    Not far from the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, the Belgian Chocolate Village is one of the largest museum spaces in Europe dedicated to chocolate.

    www.belgianchocolatevillage.be

    “HOTEL NEWCOMER”

    Hôtel des Galeries

    Opened in July 2014, a boutique hotel with listed façades. Part of an historic monument built in 1847 – the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert.

    www.hoteldesgaleries.be

    “INTERNATIONAL CONGRES”

    TEDxBrussels

    TEDxBrussels brings world-class speakers to the heart of Europe with over 2,000 influential audience members who push the frontiers of our knowledge.

    “PUBLIC INITIATIVE”

    Parcours d’Artistes

    The idea was to showcase the resources and creative potential of the urban landscape to promote its image and that of its residents. It put on 256 workshops and showcased 573 artists divided between Saint-Gilles and Forest.

    HONORARY AWARD

    Jewish Museum of Belgium

    The museum organises temporary exhibitions using in-house collections, including documents and objects from the 18th century up to the present day. It includes both Jewish life and art in Belgium as well as abroad.

    www.new.mjb-jmb.org 

    By Martin Banks