Brussels will set up its traditional Christmas tree into the capital's main square this week, city officials announced on Monday.
The City of Brussels said the tree will be freighted into the capital from the Ardennes region and set up in the Grand-Place on Thursday.
"This year's Christmas tree is an 18-metre-high Nordmann from the garden of the Hôtel de la Chaumière du Lac in Robertville," in the High Fens natural reserve, east of Liège, the city said in an online statement.
- Celebrate Christmas and New Year's with a fixed group, Crisis Centre urges
- 'Sorry, we cannot cope': Belgian hospital chief rebukes calls for Christmas relaxations
- City of Brussels officially cancels Winter Wonders this year
The City of Brussels said that the tree will begin being decorated on Sunday and that this year, the theme would be 'renewal.'
The tree was cut down and offered as a gift to the city by the owner of the hotel, according to BX1, with the city saying that, to make up for it, ten new pines would be planted.
This year, the giant Christmas tree will be the sole major decoration occupying the capital's main square, after officials pulled the plug on the traditional Winter Wonders holiday village, which draws thousands into a sprawling maze of winter attractions and to local merchants offering their goods from inside dozens of cosy cabins.
Brussels has set up a real pine tree in the Grand-Place each year for Christmas with one notable exception in 2012, which drew negative reactions from the media.
That year, officials in the city decided to install 20-metre high steel abstract sculpture which would double as a lights installation and which could climb up to.
The reaction from the media and some local officials, including MP Bianca Debaets who at the time said that the natural tree was replaced to avoid offending non-Christian residents in Brussels.
A petition to remove the steel tree gathered tens of thousands of signatures and concerns over acts of vandalism prompted the city to take down the sculpture just days after Christmas, instead of in early January.
The Brussels Times