The tree which will this year adorn the Grand Place in Brussels during the Christmas period is a gift from the Walloon region, and was cut down yesterday and transported to the capital this morning. The tree is a 22m-tall fir tree from the Hertogenwald forest near Eupen, in the province of Liege. It is 67 years old and weighs 4.7 tonnes. This is the third time in 12 years that the tree for the Grand Place has come from the same forest.
The tree was scheduled to arrive at the Grand Place at around 06.00, to avoid heavy delivery traffic in the city centre. However road-works put paid to that plan: after spending the night at Heysel, the convoy bringing the tree was held up in the centre by works on the pedestrian zone at Place Debrouckère, works at Rue de l’Evêque, the entrance to Rue des Fripiers and finally the narrow access to the Grand Place itself.
According to Plaisirs d’Hiver/Winterpret, which organises the tree’s delivery, the age of the tree also contributed to the delay, explained Geoffroy Campé. “Its branches no longer bend properly, so we had some trouble getting it through.” On the Grand Place itself, a cafe terrace had to be temporarily dismantled to allow passage to the convoy.
The tree is certified PEFC (the international Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification), which guarantees that it comes from a sustainably-maintained forest, where the soil and water are specially cared for, and where trees are only ever felled to the extent that they can be replaced naturally.