Brussels artists build ‘cultural mausoleum’ for 2020 cultural season
Share article:
Share article:

Brussels artists build ‘cultural mausoleum’ for 2020 cultural season

© Milena Desse

A “cultural mausoleum” for Belgium’s arts and culture sector popped up in Brussels on Friday, as citizens responded to an anonymous call to mark the end of a cultural season unlike any other.

© Milena Desse

Roses, theatre props, music sheets and placards were strewn across Brussels’ Mont des Arts on Friday in a collective show of support to a sector left badly battered by the crisis.

Organised in secret and anonymously, the symbolic action called on artists, creators and sympathisers to dress in black and march in the direction of the central Brussels square between 10:00 AM and noon.

© Milena Desse

To avoid gatherings, participants were asked to only pass briefly by the site to drop off their contribution to what they dubbed a “cultural mausoleum” and then go on their way.

One attendant said there was a brief moment of clapping and said passing by to drop off a rose was like a sort of “ritual” to wrap up the 2020 cultural season that never was.

© Milena Desse

Attendants were also asked to take part in the symbolic action individually but were encouraged to form a socially-distanced procession in the direction of the square if some crossed paths with one another.

Hordes of people responded to the call, shared through social media, and laid placards, books, musical partitions or theatre programmes at the summit of the square, which offers a birdseye view of the normally bustling city centre.


The words “cancelled” were written across many of the documents spread across the ground, with some theatre fans also bringing a rose and symbolic tomatoes.

The action coincides with an afternoon of hearings at the federal parliament during which MPs are set to hear from representatives of the arts and culture sector, who will make their case for wider support from the state.

© Milena Desse

Organisers said the impromptu memorial aimed to highlight the hope the sector had that leaders would roll out concrete measures capable of seeing artists and creators through the public health crisis.

Regional and local authorities have already announced a series of grants and aides to help pull the sector, left in an economic freefall as the pandemic led to a string of event and performance cancellations.

Alongside the hospitality and catering industry, arts and culture representatives are hoping that a National Security Council next week will provide answers regarding the reopening of their respective sectors.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Aggression against railway staff more than doubled since 2020
In the first three quarters of 2021, the number of reports of aggression against national railway company SNCB's staff has more than doubled compared ...
Intervention hotline 1722 activated following bad weather warnings
Following bad weather warnings from Belgium's Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium (RMI), the Federal Public Service (FPS) Home Affairs has ...
Thousands march in Brussels to raise awareness of violence against women
More than 3,000 people took to the streets of Brussels on Sunday afternoon for a national march to raise awareness of violence against women in ...
Efficacy of vaccines against new variant known in a few weeks, virologist says
The efficacy of the current coronavirus vaccines against the new Omicron variant will be clear in one to two weeks, Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst ...
Scientists could have communicated better during pandemic, survey shows
The majority of Flemish people continue to trust scientists, however, only half of them feel scientists communicated understandably during the ...
Closing borders and new travel restrictions: Countries react to Omicron variant
As more cases of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus are being reported across the world, more and more countries are imposing tougher travel ...
Several rush hour train services to be scrapped from Monday
Up to ten peak time trains to and from Brussels will be temporarily cancelled starting from Monday, Belgian railway company SNCB announced this ...
Europe’s largest vintage clothes store is in Ghent this weekend
Europe's largest pop-up store for second-hand clothes is once again setting up shop in Ghent on Sunday, offering more than five tonnes of vintage ...
Animal welfare in EU’s pig meat sector: What’s wrong?
EU has put into place legislation to ensure that animal welfare conditions are respected in its agricultural policy but the breaches of its ...
‘Not feasible’: Doctors refuse to follow new testing strategy
Doctors have warned they will not follow the government's adapted testing strategy which would see vaccinated people who were in close contact with a ...
Flanders introduces ‘invisible’ speed cameras
New digital speed cameras that are essentially invisible to the road user are being introduced on various roads and motorways in Flanders, Flemish ...
Warnings issued for slippery roads across Belgium
Drivers have been asked to watch out for slippery roads from Saturday afternoon until Sunday evening, as snow and cold temperatures are expected ...