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Belgium in Brief: Holidays At Home

Safe to say that if you’re reading an English language newsletter in Belgium, you’re very possibly not from here originally.

While international communities can vary in many ways, we often share one thing: the unique experience of the holiday at home.

To be clear, I don’t mean a staycation – I’m always looking for tips on those – I’m talking about that strange trip back home that’s equal parts obligation and holiday.

It’s the trip you have to balance seeing family, attending things you haven’t done in years, and catching up with friends you might not have seen in months.

To me, the first moments of those trips are always characterised by a walk up the same high street I spent most of my youth wandering around. There’s always bagpipe music blasting out of a store selling tartan to tourists, and I always stop at some local bar for a beer.

It’s just what I do.

Why am I talking about this today? Let’s call it an attempt at a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I’ve not had one of those moments in over a year, and I’m sure many of you are the same. So, what’s your first moment you always do? What’s your holiday at home ritual?

Let @johnstonjules know.

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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. ‘Against discrimination laws’: experts worried about Belgian ‘corona pass’

Experts are worried about the possibility of introducing a “corona pass” in Belgium, which would allow people to prove that they can safely go to the gym or a restaurant, for example, like the one already used in Denmark.

Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort stated on Sunday that he is in favour of introducing such a pass in Belgium once the entire population has had the chance to get vaccinated, but this would be in violation of the anti-discrimination law, according to discrimination expert Dominique De Meyst. Read more.

2. ‘Same storm, different boat’: Covid-19 as an occupational hazard

Photo by Ewien van Bergeijk – Kwant

The pandemic has exposed deep inequities in society, as essential workers prove to be the most vulnerable when it comes to contracting the virus.

Essential workers have been called “the front line of the pandemic,” but new research from VUB has found that these workers are not only the most vulnerable when it comes to being exposed to Covid-19, but also the least likely to be able to afford to get sick. Read more.

3. The abbot approves: Chimay goes green with new beer

The Trappist brewery Chimay has announced that it will officially launch a new permanent beer for the first time in 55 years, unveiling the new Green labelled beer on an already colourful lineup. Read more.

4. Fairground culture recognised as Brussels heritage

Photo by Jannes Van den wouwer on Unsplash

The culture of fairs and fairgrounds has been recognised as Brussels’ heritage, a distinction that gives access to a possible recognition in the intangible heritage of UNESCO, State Secretary for Heritage Pascal Smet (Vooruit) said on Monday. Read More.

5. Storm in Belgium: Gale-force winds of up to 90 km/h recorded

Belgium is officially experiencing a storm, as winds of up to 90 km/h were recorded on Tuesday, which is expected to cause damage and traffic congestion across the country. Read More.

6. Commission wants to ease entry restrictions for travel from non-EU countries

On Monday, the European Commission announced a proposal for Member States to ease their current restriction on non-essential travel from non-EU countries. Read More.

7. Antwerp revamps its city campground in anticipation of ‘staycations’

With the vaccination rollout likely to still be underway throughout the summer, the city of Antwerp is hoping to remind Belgians looking for a getaway that they needn’t go far. Read More.

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