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Belgium in Brief: The Day The Cars Stood Still 

Would you look at that, it’s almost car-free Sunday.

Sure, I can’t see past the Consultative Committee meeting happening this afternoon (more below) but I’d far rather talk about this weird and wonderful celebration of a day.

Car Free Sunday is a delightfully odd experience. From previous experience, the day has four key phases. These are:

  1. The Dawn of the Day: At the start of the day, the streets of Brussels – a city that often seems made for cars – feel like a horror movie after “the event”. People walk around in a bit of a daze, with many of them having totally missed the fact that this was going on. They hear a noise over their shoulder, only to narrowly miss a man on a bike spinning by looking a bit confused as to why they were walking down the middle of the street.
  2. The Peaceful Promenade: By early afternoon people have got into their stride, and everyone has remembered why there are no cars. They’ve had their brunch, the sun is out, it’s time to walk around (and occasionally make vrooming noise, much to the joy of everyone around)
  3. The End: As the day draws to a close, a sense of melancholy descends on proceedings. People make a mad dash to stand in the middle of Loi and get a photo for their Instagram, but another friend wants to check out that one event that they think they heard about. Ultimately a compromise is reached and people trundle home.
  4. The Night and The Morning After: Exhausted, people fall into a sleep like no other, only to wake up the next morning with aching legs because they inadvertently walked 10K the day before. Just as well you can still work from home

Is this your experience? Let @johnstonjules know (or email me

BUT WAIT, one last thing: Want news from The Brussels Times in your inbox every morning? Sign up for The Recap, a free daily newsletter containing all the stories you need to know from the day before. It goes great with your morning coffee. 

Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your lunch break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:

1. What’s on the agenda of today’s Consultative Committee?

Belgium’s Consultative Committee will meet again this afternoon to discuss which remaining coronavirus restrictions are still necessary and look into expanding the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) beyond its use for events. Read more.

2. Car Free Sunday: The Basics

Credit: Jules Johnston

A wheelbarrow race in the centre of Brussels is offering contestants a chance to win their weight in beer this car-free Sunday.  Read More

3. Brussels wheelbarrow race offers winners their weight in beer

A wheelbarrow race in the centre of Brussels is offering contestants a chance to win their weight in beer this car-free Sunday.  Read More.

4. Court rules Bois de la Cambre road must remain open

The Court of Appeal in Brussels has ruled that the closure in 2020 of the southern corner of the Bois de la Cambre to traffic was unlawful and the road must remain open. Read more.

5. Belgian EuroMillions winner claims prize

The Belgian who won more than €21 million in the EuroMillions lottery draw on 31 August has finally come forward to the National Lottery. Read more.

6. Flanders turns orange again on European coronavirus map

After being coded red for two weeks, Flanders is now turning orange again in the latest update of the coronavirus travel map by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Read more.

7. Equestrians call for immediate action against wolves

Two of the top equestrians in Flanders are calling on the Belgian government to take action regarding the presence of wolves in the area, and political parties are urging Flemish Minister of Environment Zuhal Demir to look into relocating the species. Read more.

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