Belgium in Brief:

Here we go again: after three postponements Belgium’s Consultative Committee is back with a bang. Ok, this isn’t the return of your favourite band whose show was postponed on countless occasions, but at the height of the country’s Covid crisis, the Consultative Committee was a Friday staple that dominated media channels.

Sure, it inevitably ran late into the evening, prolonging the working week. But with the speculation about rule changes in the run-up, the furore when this was leaked, and the controversy that each new raft of public health measures sparked, the meetings had many of the hallmarks of the Christmas special for the nation’s favourite sitcom.

There is almost a reluctance to put it to bed once and for all, with health experts eager to remind us that Covid is not over and we should remain on guard. And though the figures show that Covid is indeed still around, public consensus is that (at least for now) we’ve had enough of the whole malarkey.

Like a TV network keen to milk a concept for every last drop, Belgium has now copied the GEMS (panel of health experts that advise on public health policy) format but for the economy. But like so many second series, the spin-off has yet to capture public interest

Let @Orlando_tbt know.

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1. Brussels housing crisis: A problem too big to ignore

A report published on 16 May by has highlighted some of the key challenges that face Brussels residents, notably long-lasting impacts of the health crisis on demographics, wealth, health, and development. Read more.

2. Droughts ‘here to stay’: What water scarcity means for Belgium

Belgium is currently experiencing the second driest spring on record, and although rainfall is expected in the coming days, this will only be local and not nearly sufficient to recover from the current drought. Read more.

3. Ikea will convert to e-commerce in Belgium

When the pandemic hit, people who wanted to redecorate their houses with Ikea furniture turned to the online store, as all physical shops were closed. However, the Swedish furniture giant had trouble keeping up with the number of packages, as they were being delivered one or several days later. Read more.

4. Thalys stops operating low-cost IZY trains after six years

After six years, Thalys is discontinuing the low-cost IZY trains between Brussels and Paris from 10 July. Read more.

5. Interest rates at lowest point in almost 50 years

Savings accounts in Belgium are further losing value as inflation rates skyrocket, resulting in the real interest rate on savings accounts being “extremely negative.” Read more.

6. Brussels’ Palais de Justice burgled overnight

The Palais de Justice in Poelaert was broken into by a burglar on Wednesday morning. The Federal Police noted on camera images that the man was walking through the halls of the courthouse around 05:00, after which it went to the scene to locate and arrest the person. Read more.

7. Hidden Belgium: A night at the brewery

The Het Anker brewery in Mechelen has been brewing strong dark Gouden Carolus ales since the 15th century. You can tour the brewery which is located in the warren of ancient lanes that once formed the walled community of the Groot Begijnhof. Read more.

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