Belgium in Brief: Big city life

Belgium in Brief: Big city life
Credit: Belga

As a heatwave is rolling over Belgium this week, it is well-known that big cities are hit harder than rural areas due to the heat island effect.

But even within a city such as Brussels, the differences are noticeable.

Data analysed by De Tijd shows that Brussels neighbourhoods with the lowest incomes – which usually have the highest proportion of people of non-European descent – are disproportionately affected by the high temperatures.

The Climate Portal of the Flemish Environment Agency showed that the hottest districts are facing double the number of days when the average temperature is more than 25°C than the coolest ones.

Brussels' hottest neighbourhoods have an average net taxable income that is more than half as low as those in the coolest neighbourhoods – making the poorest districts the warmest districts.

On the other side of the spectrum, one of the wealthiest municipalities in Belgium, Knokke-Heist, will hand out fines of €350 to people who are trying to cool off a little by taking off their shirts on the seafront.

Due to the current heatwave, the municipality's mayor is preparing for "a real rush of people" as the temperatures are said to reach 35°C this weekend. "Bare torsos in the streets: it is just not done here."

So, how are you dealing with the heat? Let @Maatjee know.

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:

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