Outdoor swimming pool, Flow, is launching a crowdfunding campaign in order to keep the pop-up pool open this summer and ensure the best service for those seeking a dip in the only open-air pool in Brussels.
“We wanted to open earlier this year. Unfortunately, that was not possible with the resources we had,” the organisation told Bruzz.
No outdoor pools
The non-profit organisation ‘Pool is Cool’ was started six years ago, when the lack of open-air swimming spots in the capital was evident. “The non-profit organization actually originated from different people who asked themselves the same question: why is there no open-air swimming pool in our capital?”
“If you look at other cities, which are not even as big as Brussels, you will find opportunities for outdoor swimming. Why not here? Most of our team did not grow up in Brussels, so it says something that we missed the same thing at about the same time,” says Paul Steinbrück, co-founder of Pool is Cool.
And it’s not just the fun aspect that the organisation considers, Steinbrück says. “An outdoor swimming pool is also conducive to social contact and the sporty side: both the activity and the fact that it is outdoors is good for you. And this type of pool is very accessible. Anyone can enter, you don’t even have to swim,” he laughs.
Plugging the gap in Brussels
“Last year we were not open very long, only during the holiday months of July and August, but if you look at how great the success was then and how many positive reactions we received, we have to continue to show that Brussels residents lack an open-air swimming pool.”
Besides, Flow was intended as a temporary outdoor pool, and it was not made to last longer than five years. “With the resources we have now and given the location, we hope it can last for four to five seasons. But for us, this is above all a precursor to a real open-air swimming pool.”
There are projects for a permanent outdoor swimming pool, like the swimming pond in Neerpede that is due to open in 2024.
While that brings hope, Steinbrück realises the team of Flow needs to remain active, as they haven’t heard anything from the City of Brussels.
“That is also a motivation. If we do not continue to mirror the public interest, nothing will happen. The crowdfunding campaign is a means to have a little more financial support, and also a fantastic way to address the interests and wishes of Brussels residents.”
Need for funding
One season of keeping Flow open costs around €300,000, and the organisation receives almost €250,000 euros in subsidies from various governments.
“But there still remains a gap,” Steinbrück says. That gap turns out to be a pain point especially when it comes to flexibility: if Flow wants to stay open for two more weeks, as it hopes to do in September, it needs to find money.
“We also wanted to open earlier than July this year. Just look at how nice the weather has been the past few weeks, that would have been perfect. Unfortunately, with the resources we had, that was not possible.”
Aside from staying open longer, the team has great ambitions: increasing sustainability with a plant filter, offering swimming lessons for young and old, and adding a sauna or hammam to keep Flow open during winter.
It hopes to collect the necessary amount through crowdfunding, via the platform Growfunding.
To draw attention to the project, five Brussels bands gather to perform their own version of Arno’s ‘Je Veux Nager’ (I want to swim), from the indie band Splendeur to the Latin-Caribbean band Tropicant.
“We hope to raise around 60,000 euros. With this financial support we can keep Flow open and improve it. The ultimate goal is to demonstrate the broad usefulness and many qualities of outdoor swimming,” Steinbrück concludes.
So far, over €2,000 has been donated. You can contribute to the cause here.