€350 fine for wearing bikini or going shirtless in Blankenberge
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€350 fine for wearing bikini or going shirtless in Blankenberge

Blankenberge city centre. Credit: Belga

Wearing a bikini or going shirtless with swimming trunks on in the centre of the coastal city Blankenberg could result in a fine of up to €350 from 1 July onwards.

With the ban on beachwear, which will not apply to children under the age of 12, the city wants to make clear that this is not an appropriate dress code for shopping streets, according to VRT News.

“Whoever still walks around in swimwear in the city will first receive a warning,” mayor Daphné Dumery said on Radio 2 West Vlaanderen.

The policy was announced last month, but now the police regulation has been officially approved.

“The police will be able to act when people cause a nuisance when strolling through the centre in beachwear and entering shops,” she added.

Dumery emphasised that this ban should also prevent people from “taking a quick dip in the sea before strolling through the city centre soaking wet to catch a train”.

On the seafront and, of course, on the beach, swimming trunks and bikinis are still allowed.

A similar rule was introduced in the Knokke-Heist coastal town in the summer of 2019, which resorted to painting dress code suggestions onto the pavement in an attempt to encourage beach dwellers to wear more suitable clothing when leaving the beach for the town.

There, the illustrations suggest holidaymakers swap out their bikinis and swimming trunks for light shirts and dresses, and high-heeled shoes are painted instead of flip-flops.

Local authorities at the time said it wasn’t about the town being “elitist”, but that it wanted to ensure the holiday resort remained a “quality” destination.

The Brussels Times