Share article:
Share article:

Aalst Carnival will not take place in February next year

Credit: Belga

Aalst Carnival, which previously made international headlines for its controversial anti-Semitic displays, will not take place in February as usual because of the coronavirus, Aalst mayor Christoph D’Haese announced on Thursday.

“We did not make this decision overnight. There has been consultation with the fire brigade, police, medical experts and communication officers,” D’Haese told reporters. “It is one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make.”

If there is a vaccine by then, the mayor would like to organise the carnival in the summer. “That will be unique in 2021, but we are going to try anyway,” D’Haese said, adding that he will consult with inhabitants about the organisation.

The announcement comes a day after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen explicitly condemned the Carnival during her State of the European Union speech, asking “where is the essence of humanity when anti-Semitic carnival costumes parade openly on our streets?”

Related News:


In 2019, the city had to answer to the international heritage organisation UNESCO, but ultimately chose to be removed from the list of world heritage sites.

The 2020 edition of the Carnival again made international headlines after the city refused to remove floats depicting Orthodox Jews in a stereotypical way from the parade, and instead doubled down on “its right to mockery and satire.”

In a reaction to von der Leyen’s speech, D’Haese said that the city did not feel like her comment concerned them, saying that “a lot can be said about the people of Aalst, but certainly not that they have a lack of humanity” and that the Commission President “should come down from her ivory tower.”

“Mrs von der Leyen should really inform herself better before making such exaggerated statements about Aalst,” he told Het Laatste Nieuws on Wednesday. “The people of Aalst are very warm people, and we are far removed from hatred and racism.”

He conceded that “within the context of Carnival, a great deal is allowed” but that it is never the intention to pit population groups against each other, but that the festivity is “a celebration of solidarity.”

The mayor of Aalst did not respond to questions from The Brussels Times for an article about the carnival.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Will Brussels bounce back?
The lockdowns have tested the city and forced it to confront key questions about its future. Derek Blyth looks back at an extraordinary moment in our ...
Huge cannabis farm discovered inside closed down Chinese restaurant near Charleroi
A cannabis plantation with several hundred mature plants was dismantled on Friday evening in a former Chinese restaurant on Chaussée de Bruxelles ...
Citizen founded wind turbine project launched in Liège region
A citizen founded wind turbine project was inaugurated in the Liège Region on Saturday by Walloon Energy Minister Philippe Henry (Ecolo) together ...
Belgium to invest in sustainable heating in 2022
The federal government will set aside about one million euros in its 2022 budget for a social tariff for sustainable heating, Federal Energy Minister ...
Anti-vaxxers demonstrate against Covid Safe Ticket in Brussels
Hundreds of supporters of the anti-vaxx movement gathered on Saturday outside the headquarters of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company to protest ...
Belgium’s investment funds total 260 billion euros in assets
Belgium’s funds industry grew by 5.3% (13 billion euros) in the second quarter of this year, bringing investment funds available to the public to ...
Brussels to Luxembourg by train in two hours soon possible
The fastest train ride between Brussels and Luxembourg currently takes almost three hours, but that could be slashed to about two hours thanks to the ...
Daily Covid infections up by almost 30% in Belgium
Between 6 and 12 October, an average of 2,438 people were infected with the Covid-19 virus every day, according to figures from the Sciensano public ...
Over 80,000 companies in Belgium non-compliant with anti-money laundering meassures
Over 80,000 companies and non-profits in Belgium are still not compliant with the Ultimate Business Owner (UBO) register, which is required of them ...
Increase in tax exemption for donations in Belgium fails to meet expectations
The increase from 45% to 60% in the tax exemption for donations, decided by the former federal government in June 2020, has cost Belgium more than ...
Sex workers in Belgium to get more social rights protection
The social rights of sex workers will soon be better protected in Belgium, Belga News Agency reports. The Council of Ministers has approved a draft ...
Belgian firms sent almost 266 billion euros to tax havens last year
Hundreds of Belgian firms sent close to 266 billion euros to tax havens last year, De Tijd reported on Saturday. Any Belgian individual or firm ...