Belgium in Brief: Wishing for a wet summer?

Belgium in Brief: Wishing for a wet summer?
Credit: Belga, Canva

Can we never just have good news? There’s enough doom and gloom in the world right now that putting a damper on things that normally would inspire hope and happiness seems unfair and a bit heartless.

But a damper is exactly what Belgium could do with right now, pleasant as it is to frolic in sun-lit parks and bask in the balmy heat. Because the alluring warm that has swept the country in recent days is doing no good at all for Belgium’s already-depleted groundwater. Levels have been dropping every year and this spring has been the second driest on record.

Speaking to The Brussels Times, hydrogeologist Marijke Huysmans was plain about the scale of the problem: “In the past three months, there has been so little rain that we are now experiencing a drought that, according to statistics, only occurs once every 50 years.”

Huysmans also called attention to the type of rain Belgium needs. Whilst heavy and localized showers are forecast for the coming days, we in fact need soft and sustained precipitation. The ground is now too water-starved to be able to absorb large quantities of rain quickly, leading to floods that can have catastrophic results, as Belgium well knows.

“Efficient” is a strange label to apply to rain, we seem to spend most of the time waiting only for it to stop. However, Huysmans assures us that this is a trick of the mind – it actually rains less than we think but we remember wet weeks more than dry ones. And though we may not be breaking out the barbeques (in strict compliance with environmental guidelines, of course), there are often periods where the weather isn’t great but is dry.

So whilst this may not be the news you wanted to hear, perhaps this will help look on the bright side the next time it rains on your parade.

Here’s my pro tip: umbrellas are great in sun and rain. What’s yours? Let @Orlando_tbt 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:


1. Brussels housing crisis: A problem too big to ignore

A report published on 16 May by Perspective.brussels has highlighted some of the key challenges that face Brussels residents, notably long-lasting impacts of the health crisis on demographics, wealth, health, and development. Read more.

2. Droughts ‘here to stay’: What water scarcity means for Belgium

Belgium is currently experiencing the second driest spring on record, and although rainfall is expected in the coming days, this will only be local and not nearly sufficient to recover from the current drought. Read more.

3. Ikea will convert to e-commerce in Belgium

When the pandemic hit, people who wanted to redecorate their houses with Ikea furniture turned to the online store, as all physical shops were closed. However, the Swedish furniture giant had trouble keeping up with the number of packages, as they were being delivered one or several days later. Read more.

4. Thalys stops operating low-cost IZY trains after six years

After six years, Thalys is discontinuing the low-cost IZY trains between Brussels and Paris from 10 July. Read more.

5. Interest rates at lowest point in almost 50 years

Savings accounts in Belgium are further losing value as inflation rates skyrocket, resulting in the real interest rate on savings accounts being “extremely negative.” Read more.

6. Brussels’ Palais de Justice burgled overnight

The Palais de Justice in Poelaert was broken into by a burglar on Wednesday morning. The Federal Police noted on camera images that the man was walking through the halls of the courthouse around 05:00, after which it went to the scene to locate and arrest the person. Read more.

7. Hidden Belgium: A night at the brewery

The Het Anker brewery in Mechelen has been brewing strong dark Gouden Carolus ales since the 15th century. You can tour the brewery which is located in the warren of ancient lanes that once formed the walled community of the Groot Begijnhof. Read more.


Latest News

Copyright © 2021 The Brussels Times. All Rights Reserved.