Whilst "dry January" has become fairly well established as a month of abstinence, February (a few days shorter than January) sees the start of the annual Tournée Minérale – a Belgian initiative that is the concept: no alcohol for a month.
Health experts warn of Belgium's acute alcohol issue: enough beer, wine and liquor is consumed to average 12 litres of pure alcohol per man, woman and child in the country, according to a Sciensano report. This is far above the European average. And Europe drinks more alcohol than any other continent.
Heavy drinking carries a raft of health problems. Mental disorders, cirrhosis of the liver, cancer, cardiovascular disease and trauma are all medical conditions associated with excessive alcohol consumption. Heavy drinking is also a major cause of premature death.
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Tournée Minérale organizers say that nearly 2 million Belgians participate in the annual event. The first edition occurred in 2017.
Two organizations run the month-long program. VAD, the Flemish centre of expertise for alcohol and other drugs manages the program in Flanders whilst Univers Santé is in charge of the French-speaking programme.
For more information about the program and how to participate, follow this Tournée Minérale link.