The majestic Christmas tree that will take pride of place in the Grand Place de Bruxelles for the Winter Wonders festival was cut down in Stavelot on Wednesday.
The 22-metre high, 60-year-old Nordmann is offered to the City of Brussels by the municipality of Stavelot. The tree will arrive on the Grand-Place, under police escort, at dawn on Thursday.
“It is a way of reviving the memory of a great surge of solidarity that began 75 years ago, when, faced with Nazi Germany’s last offensive rank, the Ardennes served as a rampart for liberated Belgium. The municipality of Brussels then adopted Stavelot in February 1945 and provided it with aid in various forms,” explained Alderman Patrice Lefèbvre.
For once, the four-ton conifer comes from private property, stirring up a lot of emotions in the local woman who used to own it. “We have lived together for many years. He was my friend. He made two young shoots. The succession is assured. After a long reflection, I agreed to let him go,” said Bérangère Delatte.
It was alderman Raymond Kockelmann, a twenty-time Belgian lumberjack champion, who felled the fir tree. The relatively delicate manoeuvre, lasting just under an hour.
This year, the tree will be decorated with the colours of Belgium and the effigy of Manneken Pis, who is celebrating its 400th anniversary this year.
The Brussels Times