Brussels banishes Coca-Cola sign from Place De Brouckère
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Brussels banishes Coca-Cola sign from Place De Brouckère

The sign overlooking the square. © Zairon/Wikimedia

The Brussels regional government has refused to renew the planning permission required for the Coca-Cola sign over the Place De Brouckère in the city centre.

The move comes as the government considers its future policy regarding advertising in the historic city centre. Secretary of state for urban planning Pascal Smet (one.brussel) described the sign as “out of proportion”.

The LED sign was installed in 2011 on the top of what used to be the monumental Hotel Continental, now offices. The building dominates the square, and can be clearly seen by anyone travelling north along the central Boulevard Anspach, making its position prime advertising real estate. Before 2011, the place was taken by a billboard of similar size.

The new sign was erected without planning permission, a problem that was later rectified. But the permit ran out at the end of 2019, and its renewal has only now been decided.

The existing board is just too big,” Smet told Bruzz.

The official of the region in charge of the matter has therefore given a negative advice, which is binding,” he said.

Smet now wants the region to start discussions with the Brussels-City municipality on the question of advertising signs on the square and elsewhere in the historic city centre. Opposite the Coca-Cola sign is another screen, on the side of the Centre Monnaie.

Together with the City we want to see whether we still want advertising on that square,” Smet said.

If so, we want to determine which criteria it has to meet. In terms of size, but also in terms of style. The old nostalgic advertising, for example, was a lot more stylised and charming.”

No date has been given for the removal of the Coca-Cola panel, which would mean a loss of revenue for the city. In 2011 when the new sign was installed, it was reported that the company would pay a fee to the city of €10,000 a month.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times