As Christmas lights start to go up around the city and the smells of hot wine and raclette fill the air, it’s officially the time of year when Christmas markets come to Brussels.
Spreading across the city, Brussels Winter Wonders, which includes Christmas markets, fairground attractions, an ice-skating rink, pop-up villages, and many more activities, will run until 5 January 2020.
Here are just some of the attractions that Winter Wonders will bring this year:
For over five weeks, 250 wooden chalets, making up the Brussels Christmas markets, will fill the city centre. These chalets can be found at Grand Place, Place de Brouckère, Place de la Monnaie and Tour Noire, presenting market-goers with the opportunity to drink hot wine, eat tasty snacks and purchase Christmas gifts.
Winter Wonders, which plays host to the Brussels Christmas markets, is open from 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM every day, except on 24 and 31 December, when it will be open from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM.
As well as numerous chalets and six covered seating areas, Place de Brouckère will host the Patinoire ice skating rink.
For adults, tickets cost €9. For 12 to 17-year-olds, tickets cost €7, and for those under the age of 12, tickets cost €5.
Place de la Monnaie has been adapted to host The Dome- a 360° high-tech installation that stages various immersive shows. The Dome will screen documentaries, dramas and art house films. Tickets can be bought in advance online.
In addition, thanks to the European Union Space Programme, whenever there aren’t events scheduled in The Dome, visitors will be able to enjoy satellite images of the earth.
Winter Pop popup village returns this year spend weekends on Square Ambiorix, in Les Marolles, Neder-Over-Heembeek and Laeken respectively.
The popup village hosts a wide range of activities, including workshops, shows, demonstrations, concerts, bands, dances, storytelling and much much more.
Winter Pop runs from Friday to Sunday. The village will be open from 3:00 PM to 9:00 PM from Friday to Saturday. On Sunday, it will start at 2:00 PM and run through until 7:00 PM.
The pop-up village will take place at Square Ambiorix from 29 November to 1 December, at Place Peter Benoît in Neder-Over-Heembeek from 6 to 8 December, on Place Willems in Laeken from 13 to 15 December and Place de la Chapelle in Les Marolles from 20 to 22 December.
Grand Place light show
There will be an 8-minute 360° sound and light show at Grand Place throughout the duration of Winter Wonders.
The show will run from 5:00 PM, every hour, until 10:00 PM from Sunday to Thursday (until 5 January). On Friday and Saturday, the show will run from 5:00 PM, every half hour, until 10:30 PM. The last show will take place at 6:00 PM on Tuesday, 31 December.
Grand Place Christmas Tree
Additionally, the Christmas Tree, which was donated this year by the town of Stavelot, can also be found at Grand-Place.
The tree is around fifty years old and has reached maturity. Two plants are growing at its feet. To celebrate 400 years of Manneken-Pis, the Christmas tree, which was donated by the City of Stavelot, was decorated on Friday with 50 little Mannekin-Pis, 40 bubbles of red lights, 120 balls in the colours of the Belgian flag and 1.5 km of sparkling garland.
The tree is positioned alongside a traditional life-size Nativity scene.
Sheila Uría Veliz
The Brussels Times