Brussels nominated for best European Christmas market award

Brussels nominated for best European Christmas market award
The 2019 edition of Brussels' Winter Wonders Christmas market. Credit: Plaisirs d'Hivers/Winter Pret

The Winter Wonders Christmas festival of Brussels has been nominated for the award for the best Christmas market in Europe, running up against the likes of Cologne, Vienna or Prague’s own winter festivities.

Previous editions of the award, organised by travel organisation European Best Destinations, have gone to the holiday markets of Zagreb, Tallinn or the world-famous French market of Strasbourg, one of the oldest in Europe.

In Brussels, the end-of-year period sees a 2.5-kilometre-long route of markets, animations, and a slew of festive decorations and installations rolled out throughout the streets of the city, with a large market propped up in the central Grand-Place.

The travel group said the “great classics” of Brussels’ Winter Wonders festivities, such as the Sound and Lights show in the main square, the giant Christmas tree and the city’s offer of fun cultural activities made for “unforgettable shared moments,” noting the rich food and drinks offer available to visitors.

The most recent edition of the festival brings novel additions to the mix, with new spaces created in Place De Brouckère, which hosts an ice skating rink, and with Boulevard Anspach in the bustling pedestrian zone outfitted with new market stalls.

A new high-tech installation dubbed The Dome was set up in Place de la Monnaie this year, which will offer visitors an immersive Christmas experience by hosting everything from art-house and to children cartoons projections to a Saint-Nicholas party, as well as a workshop offering initiations to the digital arts.

The festivities sprawl throughout the city, offering residents and curious visitors a chance to wander into the holiday mood in Place Sainte-Catherine, in Ixelles’ Place Sainte-Croix or in Etterbeek’s duo of Finnish and Swedish markets.

Alternatively, so-called alternative markets, focusing on themes of sustainability, craftsmanship, or vintage goods are also set up across Brussels.

The competition, which lauded Brussels for its “harmonious blend of tradition and innovation,” runs from the 29 November to 10 December and allows visitors to cast one vote per day.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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