Last weekend was a big deal here in Brussels – something that only happens once for a very brief period of time every two years: the Flower Carpet.
For one long weekend in August of every even year, the Grand Place is completely transformed with almost the entirety of the square covered with one massive flower carpet. The flower carpet is about 75 meters in length and 25 meters in width. That’s about 1,800 square meters of flowers. It takes around 750,000 flowers and more than 120 volunteers to put the carpet together. The flowers are apparently packed in so tightly that no soil needs to be used and the wind won’t blow them away. It’s pretty crazy to think of all the work that goes into building this carpet and to have it gone again in the blink of an eye.
The first flower carpet to be laid was in 1971, and after a few more additional flower carpets over the years, the biennial installation began in 1986. Each year has a different theme, and prior themes have included garden “à la française”, Brussels’ lace, Mozart, and Versailles. 2014 is the 50th anniversary of a convention which allowed Turkish immigration into Brussels; therefore, the carpet this year celebrated that anniversary. The Grand Place’s flower carpet was fashioned into a pattern resembling a Turkish rug.
You can walk along the perimeter of the flower carpet and get a good look at how tightly packed those flowers are. To get the best view though, I recommend paying the small fee (€5/person for 2014) to go up into City Hall and get the bird’s-eye view from the balcony. It’s the best way to get a true appreciation for the size and the detail of the pattern. It does get fairly crowded, so I would aim to get there either early or late in the day.
I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say you should travel here just for this, that is unless you are a super flower enthusiast. But if it sounds like something that interests you, and you’re planning a trip to Brussels in August of 2016, I’d mark it on your calendar.
Anything unique or fun your city does?