After two years of health crisis, Belgium's national holiday will be celebrated once again on 21 July with a huge party, Interior and Defence Ministers Annelies Verlinden and Ludivine Dedonder announced on Monday at the presentation of the festivities.
The event will feature various activities such as the customary parade, fireworks and new initiatives such as the National Apero and a national concert. "There are many people who deserve to be celebrated," said Verlinden. "We are a country of heroes, and they are honoured."
She referred, among other things, to the volunteers who are still helping people one year after last July's floods and those hosting Ukrainian refugees.
The parade will start at 4 p.m., when a "tribute will be paid to all women and men who guarantee the safety of our citizens daily," according to the minister. Defense and the Federal Police will give a "dynamic demonstration" on the Place des Palais.
This year citizens are also invited to attend the parade, including 50 Be-Heroes, Belgians who make a big difference with small deeds, but also volunteers from the Red Cross, among others.
In the Cinquantenaire Park festivalgoers can enjoy the free, "Belgium celebrates!" concert'. Various artists will perform from 9 pm, such as Alice on the Roof, Coely, Niels Destadsbader, Salvatore Adamo, Netsky, Laura Tesoro, Ruben Block, Jérémie Makiese, Noémie Wolfs, Pommelien Thijs and Yong Yello.
The holiday will conclude with fireworks to be set off at 11 p.m. from the esplanade and arcades of the Cinquantenaire Park.
Still new this year is the National Apero. Cafés, bars and restaurants have been asked to let people known whether they will be partying too. They will be able to broadcast the concert on their screens.