The 2017 edition of the annual Plaisirs d’Hiver (Winter Wonders) was a major hit, Brussels City Hall reported on Friday, with more than 2.3 million visitors participating in the December event, held from the 24th of November to the 31st of December. While attendance was slightly lower than in 2016, when 2.4 million visitors were registered, it was way above the visitor tallies for 2015 (911,000) and 2014 (1.4 million).
Activities in the 2017 edition of the event, known in Dutch as Winter Pret, ranged from a winter market, skating, big wheels and merry-go-rounds to storytelling, music, and cultural exchanges with local actors, not to mention the spectacular Sound and Light Show.
“It was a huge success”, commented Karine Lalieux, alderwoman for Tourism and Major Events. “We’re very happy,” added Mayor Philippe Close, announcing that the 18th edition would take place between the 30th of November 2018 and the 6th of January 2019.
The Sounds and Light Show at the Grand-Place, Brussels’ main square, was evidently one of the highlights of the festival, along with skating at the Place de la Monnaie, which was attracted 40,000 persons. The New Year’s Eve celebration and fireworks at the Heysel Plateau were also a hit, according to the Mayor ‘s Office, which said some 45,000 persons attended.
“We merge tradition and technological innovation,” stressed Close, adding that “the city has never been so brightly lit (in LED)”.
One of the innovations of the 2017 edition was “Winter Pop” – itinerant villages set up in Haren, Neder-Over-Hembeek and Laeken. “The decentralisation challenge has been met,” said a jubilant Lalieux, promising to “do it again next time”.
The City of Brussels and organiser Brussels Major Events are already looking forward ambitiously to the 18th Edition, which will have Finland as guest country.