The popular Zinneke Parade returned to Brussels at the weekend after a two-year absence, attracting thousands of visitors under spring sunshine. Zinneke, a Brussels dialect word which points to the River Zenne/Senne, originally meant a stray dog, but is now used to mean one of the common folk of Brussels. It gave its name to the parade because it is made up of groups from all parts of the city, known as Zinnodes. The parade was initiated in 2000, when Brussels was one of the European cities of culture.
Each year has a theme, chosen by the participating groups themselves and members of the public. Themes in the past have included the future, water, disorder and temptation. This year’s theme, in keeping with the continuing controversy over migrants, was Illegal.
In total, 24 groups took part, drawn from local community groups, culture houses, school and associations from across the city. Many of the 1,500 participants who paraded through the streets of the centre have been working on their contribution to the parade, including flamboyant costumes, since the end of the last edition in 2016.
The various groups all departed from different places in the centre, but merged onto a single route which allowed the waiting public to see everything pass by. The parade ended with a gathering in front of the Bourse, part of the new pedestrian zone, where the election was launched to decide the theme of the 2020 parade.