Flower Power: Seeing the Flower Carpet in Brussels

Flower Carpet Brussels

Flitting between the endless possibilities of what the world has to offer and how my life fits into it is something I find myself doing all the time, for better or for worse. Sometimes they don’t always collide, but then sometimes they do. (And the sound of cosmic matter chiming together can be faintly heard somewhere in the distance).

A few years ago, on what was probably any ordinary day, I stumbled across a photo, it was one of those photos that makes you scream ‘Take Me!’

I discovered I was looking at a photo of the Flower Carpet festival in Brussels, something I had never heard of before.  If flower power was a drug then I was on the trip of a lifetime, I thought to myself.

Brussels Flower Carpet, Grand Place 2014

Faster than I could say my own name, I hammered the keys of my laptop to see if it was still there, crossing my fingers and toes. But my heart sank when I read it only takes place every two years over one weekend.

The year was 2010 which meant I had another two years to wait – two whole years! But when 2012 came and went, my hopes of seeing the Flower Carpet were put in a little box, and placed on a shelf in the back of my mind.

However, fast forward to 2014 and I got thinking about the Flower Carpet again. I had a look at the dates, 15-17 August – there was nothing in my diary. The occasion was not going to slip through my fingers again. I checked the Eurostar, found some affordable tickets, and booked it as quickly as I could.

Did the fact that it only takes place every two years over a couple of days make it appear even more attractive to me? Guilty.

City Hall, Grand Place Brussels

On the opening night of the Flower Carpet thousands of people crowded in the Grand Place (the main square) to see the final results of months’ worth of planning put into action. A firecracker of music, lights, swarms of people, beer, and waffles drenched in chocolate encapsulated the square and drifted through the side streets.

The square itself is one of the finest in Europe, a bold statement of different architectural styles maintained within an essentially Gothic and Baroque appearance. All the buildings in the square are protected and have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Acquiring a good view of the carpet for a wee short arse like me was not meant to be, but there was still hope… I saw lots of little children on their daddies’ shoulders, and for a brief moment I thought about going up to someone tall and asking for a shoulder ride but I avoided what inevitably would have been an awkward moment between two strangers. Plus, Belgium beer was in full flow so for that reason alone it was not the most sensible idea.

Although my view of the carpet was blocked for the majority of the time, I did manage to squeeze myself to the front for a few pictures:

Floral Carpet in Brussels

Flower Carpet festival

The Grand Place at night with Flower CarpetAfter the crowd died down the following day I opted to go to the viewing platform from the City Museum, and here’s a short video I took.

Without the beer, lights and music it’s a completely different atmosphere between night and day. If you have time to experience both then you should. One thing is for sure: if you have the budget you should definitely pay the extra 5 Euros to see it from either the City Hall or City Museum. It looks significantly better from above.

Flower Carpet in BrusselsEach time the festival takes place the theme of the carpet changes, in 2012 it was a tapestry of patterns found  in the tribes of Ethiopia, Congo, Nigeria, Botswana, and Cameroun, and this year it was inspired by Turkish Kilims. And my, my, what a pretty sight it was.

Flower Carpet, Brussels, Belgium

I had never been to Brussels before, and waiting for the Flower Carpet was a great time to visit the city for something that doesn’t happen every day.

For more information about the 2016 Flower Carpet, check updates here.

So, how about it, 2016 anyone?



A travel & culture blog specialising in Scandinavia and the Arctic, peppered with the rest of the world in between.


'Flower Power: Seeing the Flower Carpet in Brussels' have 12 comments

  1. August 20, 2014 @ 7:34 pm Mike

    Wow, that is absolutely beautiful and oh my gosh what a shame it’s only every two years. I love how the surrounding buildings are illuminated at night too! I really liked the “sound of cosmic matter” and “if flower power was a drug” is perfection. I checked out your video too. If you haven’t done one already have you considered doing a Vlog?? I think it would be a huge hit, Shing! Loved this post like all of yours always, our friend 🙂

    Reply

    • August 22, 2014 @ 8:09 am admin

      Hi Mike! No, I’ve never really thought about the idea of doing a Vblog because my speaking voice leaves little to be desired, in other words, people find my accent difficult to understand! However, now that you mention it, I should reflect on this matter and perhaps try it as an experiment for my blog – thank you for the suggestion!!

      Reply

      • August 23, 2014 @ 4:13 am Mike

        Your beautiful accent would be very endearing and intriguing to us readers, Shing! And remember “we” are our own worst critics to what others find fascinating! I hope you will definitely give it some thought! Have a great weekend! 🙂

        Reply

  2. August 21, 2014 @ 8:36 am Pam | a BLonde around the World

    Your pics are beautiful as Always and I loved to read the story!
    I’ve never been to Brussels and *shame* never heard of the flower carpet before!
    Now I’m going to think about it for the next 2 years as you did 😉

    Reply

    • August 22, 2014 @ 8:20 am admin

      Ahh, glad you’ve heard about it now then Pam! Although this post is about the Flower Carpet and the main square my favourite parts of Brussels were actually away from this area, there are some really cool districts away from the busy, touristy areas, especially North-West and South-West of the city that I think you would like, areas which feel more like Berlin or even Scandinavia from the point of view of design shops and overall chilled-out vibe.

      Reply

  3. August 21, 2014 @ 2:14 pm Richard

    You’re going to kill me for saying this, but I think the flower carpet spoils the square! The Grand Place must be one of the nicest squares in Europe and could do without this monstrosity. Maybe once a decade would be more appropriate?!

    Reply

    • August 26, 2014 @ 10:01 pm admin

      Saying you don’t like it is one thing, but calling it a MONSTROSITY is an entirely different thing!!!

      Flowers have feelings too Richard!

      Reply

  4. August 21, 2014 @ 2:40 pm RealGunners

    Is it just me, or do the patterns design on that flower carpet look distinctively, Asian?

    Reply

    • August 26, 2014 @ 10:04 pm admin

      I’m no pattern connoisseur but I’m inclined to agree with you! Turkey is Eurasian so you are probably right.

      Reply

  5. August 25, 2014 @ 7:35 pm Heather

    I absolutely want to witness this gorgeousness! I’m gutted I missed it this year, but like you, this will be filed away on my mind’s travel shelf.

    Reply

    • August 26, 2014 @ 10:11 pm admin

      Haha don’t forget it Heather, I know what it’s like to have an overflowing travel shelf in one’s mind.

      Reply

  6. May 24, 2015 @ 10:41 am Brussels | RealGunners @ Blog

    […] If you really want how a Flower Carpet festival is like, Shing of The Culture Map has a lovely blog post of it. […]

    Reply


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