The Bûûmdroegers (tree bearers) in Brussels have again succeeded in their goal this year, planting the 714th Meyboom just before 5 pm, on the corner of Broekstraat and Zandstraat to the approval of Mayor Philippe Close and several of his aldermen.
The Meyboom tour started on Tuesday morning in the Sonian Forest, where a beautiful beech tree was felled. Afterwards, the folkloric procession of Bûûmdroegers, Gardevils and brass band, with the tree on the truck, passed by the town halls of Etterbeek, Schaerbeek and Saint-Josse-ten-Node for the Meyboom's last triumphal procession.
At around 2.30 pm, the tree was presented to the public and the Brussels city council at the Grand-Place. The truck carrying the tree there had some trouble with Coldplay fans trying to catch a glimpse of singer Chris Martin at the nearby Hotel Amigo.
The final tour then started from the Grote Markt. At 4.35 pm exactly, so well on time, the tree was planted straight down in its hole in one smooth attempt. Finally, the Belgian flag was tied to the beech by one of the Bûûmdroegers, then the brass band closed off the traditional moment with the Brabançonne.
Tradition has it that the inhabitants of Brussels must plant the tree before 5 p.m. Otherwise, Leuven will get the Meyboom. The legend goes back to the year 1213, when Brussels won an important victory over Leuven. There are various stories about the origin of their dispute, ranging from a disrupted wedding to a beer tax.