Home CULTURE Brussels’ “Winter Wonders” opens its doors for the festive season

Brussels’ “Winter Wonders” opens its doors for the festive season

Five weeks of festive fun…. that is what the City of Brussels offers with its seasonal wonderland which runs from 24th November until 7th January.

by EUToday Correspondents
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Winter Wonders
The city is celebrating the 23rd edition of Winter Wonders which features one of Europe’s most popular Christmas markets and a host of different activities.

The event is open every day from 12pm to 10 pm. The festivities of the Grand-Place, with its Christmas tree and sound and light show, of Place De Brouckère, with its ice rink and curling rinks, and place de la Monnaie are extended until Sunday 7th January 2024.

Cut down on Wednesday 15th November in Lier, the Xmas tree is adorned with symbols carved in the wood which represent several of Quebec’s Indigenous nations.

This year, the 11 Indigenous Nations of Quebec are the guests of honour at Winter Wonders. In the village dedicated to them in front of the Bourse, the “guest of honour” gives revellers the chance to discover their culinary products and local crafts plus enjoy a unique experience in a traditional “Shaputuan” tent.

A Shaputuan is a traditional Innu tent used as a meeting place to share culture. It’s a traditional winter home for the Innu and was used during hunting expeditions in the territory.

The Winter Wonders inauguration took place at 6 pm on Friday (24th November) with the lighting up of the Christmas tree in the Grand-Place followed by a performance of traditional dances by the Sandokwa troupe (Huron-Wendat), Inuit songs from Nunavik and the first sound and light show of this 2023 edition.

It was also a chance for a local business, Le Roy D’Espagne, to launch its own contribution to the festivities this year – a bird’s eye view of the world famous Grand Place.

The long established restaurant will open its doors (on an upper level) to allow people to gaze at the wondrous festive sight below them on the beautiful square and its seasonal striking installations.

For a small, nominal fee (€5) the public can climb to one of the highest points of the Grand Place for one of the best views of the surroundings. You can also get your photo taken with Father Christmas, perhaps have a seasonal drink and will be given a voucher entitling you to discounts at local businesses in the immediate area.

The idea, says, Patricia Cornet, director of sales and marketing at Le Roy D’Espagne, is to generate yet more interest in the city’s seasonal offerings this year and also give the public the chance of a view of the Grand Place that they’d otherwise possibly never get.

She said, “It really is a great view from the upper floor of the building and a chance not to be missed. It is the first time we have done this and there is already a lot of interest. We hope it will make a visit to the city this Christmas that bit more special.”

The space, which is currently beautifully decorated for the season, can also be hired out for private parties and functions.

Another key attraction in the Grand Place is the immersive experience that is said to “transcend cultural boundaries.” It features storytelling of indigenous peoples in what is now known as North America.

A Winter Wonders spokesman told this website: “It has been a long, difficult year but we hope this event will bring some real cheer to everyone.”

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