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Belgium in Brief: Same/Weird & New

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So this is my first day back after a week of vacation. 

That’s not a brag – not really – just more of a jumping point for the topic I want to talk about because I’m not caught up enough yet to provide any more meaningful commentary on current events (sorry, check back tomorrow). 

It turns out relaxing is just really difficult at the moment. 

Like many people, I turned towards a staycation this year. I did a little exploring of a country I know kind of well, but still not well enough, but I have to admit I still felt the shadow of Covid. 

Going for a hike – still the same. Finding out the only open bar for miles doesn’t allow walk-ins anymore – weird. 

A trip to the mall – the same. Massive lines outside of stores making things more crowded, not less – weird

Walking through a bar with a mask on, taking it off to sit down, putting it back on to stand up, running back to the table because I forgot it – takes a little getting used to.

In fact, I’m still getting used to exactly where I should be wearing a mask in general, where I chose to wear one, and why the rules seem a little all over the place. 

When you’ve not consistently left the house for a while, even normal stuff feels a little weird

How’s your staycation been going? Has it been going? Or did you make it away in the end? Let @johnstonjules know, he missed you guys. 

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. New rainfall, new flooding – new normal?

The severe flooding across Belgium over the weekend was separate from the fatal floods the week before, but experts warn that climate change could make both occurrences more common. Read more.

2. Ireland goes red, Europe turns more orange

The map of Europe is changing again for travellers from Belgium, as large parts of France, Greece and all of Ireland change colour following the latest update of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Read more.

3. Up to half of young people do not show up for Covid vaccine in Flanders

Up to half of the young people who are invited for a coronavirus vaccine in Flanders do not show up, according to various vaccination centres in the region. Read more.

4. Pukkelpop: Call for withdrawal of promised subsidy

A member of the Flemish parliament has called for a subsidy of €1.8 million promised to the Pukkelpop festival not to be paid since the festival is now cancelled. Read More.

5. More than 200 animals lost in floods home safely thanks to Facebook

Last weekend – and again this weekend – one of the most striking aspects of the flooding in Wallonia was the reaction of people in other parts of Belgium in helping those less fortunate. Read More.

6. Largest water recycling plant in Flanders deployed

Plant-based food manufacturer Alpro has put a new water recycling installation into use in its factory in Wevelgem, making it the largest one in use in Flanders. Read more.

7. Brussels’ last lambic brewery reimagines historical citrus blend

The 2021 version of the Zwanze beer – which has varied from beetroot to blueberry in recent years – will focus on citrus, in an ode to the brewery’s history. Read more.