Some 20,000 people admired the traditional carpet of flowers from the balconies of Brussels City Hall, according to an estimate communicated on Monday evening by the team in charge of the event.
The number was lower than the 22,000 to 23,000 visitors in 2018, at the last edition of the biennial event. 2020's edition was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It’s been a good year but attendance at the Grand Place is not yet as high as in 2018,” commented Karel Goethals, representative of the non-profit Tapis de fleurs de Bruxelles. “However, we see that the tourists are back. In the groups that reserved a balcony at the town hall, we had a lot of Americans and Germans. It was a little less crowded on Sunday, perhaps because of the heat wave."
To celebrate Monday’s 22nd edition and the 50th anniversary of the initiative, floral artists on Friday morning reinterpreted the first carpet made in 1971.
Inspired by a carpet of flowers seen in 1970 in Oudenaarde, East Flanders, the first Brussels edition was born of a collaboration between “Les Francs-Bourgeois” association of merchants of the centre and the Flemish association of producers of ornamental plants and suppliers of green spaces AVBS. Its president, Étienne Stautemas, is a begonia enthusiast.
“We were afraid of the heat, but the carpet held up well,” remarked Karel Goethals. “Flowers shrank a bit, especially the begonias, but we had replaced a good part of the planned begonias with dahlias, which are more resistant, and it worked well.”
After the display is dismantled, the potted flowers will be donated to the non-profit association “Les vrais riches”, which works with people with mental disabilities. It will take care of the redistribution to other associations within its network, and residues will be composted.