16 Jul 2018 13:41

Programme of events for Belgian National Day 2018

On the occasion of Belgian National Day, on 20 and 21 July the FPS Chancery of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Defence, the FPS Home Affairs and the federal and local police, in close cooperation with the Association for the Advancement and Promotion of Brussels, are organising a host of activities for the general public in Brussels. National Day is intended to be a large-scale popular event, offering our fellow citizens the chance to celebrate in the heart of our capital.

The themes of 21 July 2018 are:

  • the centenary commemoration of the end of the First World War (1914-1918)
  • the 5-year reign of HM King Philippe

Just like the federal campaign “Belgium, uniquely phenomenal”, the festivities of 21 July contribute to promoting a positive image of Belgium.

Below you will find an overview of the activities that are being organised or co-organised by the federal government:

Friday 20 July 2018

From 7 p.m. on - Bal national - Vossenplein/Place du Jeu de Balle
This year too, the Bal national is taking over Vossenplein/Place du Jeu de Balle. This popular event in the Marolles kicks off at 7 p.m. Belgium’s biggest popular ball begins with a beginner’s introduction to dance, followed by a series of free concerts. This year, the acts include Plastic Bertrand, Lio and Daddy K. More information on the Bal national website: www.balnational.be

8 p.m. - Concert: a prelude to National Day - BOZAR
This classical music concert is being organised by the International Queen Elisabeth Competition, together with the Belgian National Orchestra and Bozar, thanks to the support of the FPS Chancery of the Prime Minister and the Belgian National Lottery. The event’s location is the magnificent Henry Le Boeuf Hall of the Brussels Centre for Fine Arts, which is among the five best concert halls in the world in terms of acoustics. The King and the Queen will attend the concert.

This year, the guest musician is cellist Ivan Karizma, winner of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 2017. He will be accompanied by the Belgian National Orchestra and will interpret the Cello concert no. 1 by Camille Saint-Saëns. The Belgian National Orchestra, under Hugh Wollf, will also play Short Ride in a Fast Machine by John Adams and La Mer by Claude Debussy. More information on the Bozar website

Saturday 21 July 2018

10 a.m. - Te Deum - Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula
The Te Deum mass of 21 July is being celebrated in the presence of the King and Queen and the high officials in the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula at 10 a.m., presided over by Cardinal Jozef De Kesel.

From 10 a.m. on - Party at Brussels Park - Brussels Park/Regentschapsstraat/Rue de la Régence and surrounding area
From 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., it’s party time between the Palace of Justice and the Paleis der Natie/Palace of the Nation (federal parliament) and more specifically on Regentschapsstraat/Rue de la Régence, at the Zavel/Sablon, on Koningsplein/Place Royale and in Brussels Park. The programme includes a multitude of free, fun and folklore-inspired happenings. Museums and churches are open to the public in this area. Brussels Park and the Zavel/Sablon will feature the sound of music all day long.

The FPS Home Affairs, the Ministry of Defence, the federal and local police, the European institutions and various different federal public services will all take part in the celebrations.

This year, we celebrate the fifth birthday of the coronation of His Majesty King Philippe. The Party in the Park (Feest in de Warande/Fête au Parc) will highlight this theme with a special ‘village’, created by various associations, and with a large fresco of His Majesty the King, where citizens can leave a message.

The Police Village on the Poelaertplein/Place Poelaert once more offers a varied programme for young and old this year. The first zone will be dedicated to various spectacular demonstrations: maintaining order, use of a water cannon, and motorbike riders from the road police. The second zone is for children, with various activities (mini death ride, road track, law enforcement route) and a game about the federal police units that are celebrating their anniversary in 2018. The theme of the third zone is police recruitment, where future candidates will be able to practice on a functional route.

At the various stands, visitors can find out about the different professions with the police, their specialised equipment, vehicles, a drone and two helicopters, the current MD900 Explorer and its successor the Alouette.

In the Regentschapsstraat/Rue de la Régence you will find the Federal Truck parked up - the Federal Government’s information truck which will be welcoming visitors all day. The truck is wearing the colours of the “Belgium, uniquely phenomenal” campaign (www.uniquelyphenomenal.be). You can discover (or rediscover) the 99 reasons to love Belgium and participate in 100% Belgian, “uniquely phenomenal” activities. For example, there will be a photo booth, an interactive quiz, a ‘trompe l’oeil’ and a virtual tour of Belgium. Nearby, Belgian Customs will be holding demonstrations with sniffer dogs and presenting the Scanvan (luggage scanner). Finally, we can’t possibly fail to mention the BEL-Europa stand of the federal government and the representatives in Belgium of the European Commission and the European Parliament, which is offering a raft of entertainment on Koningsplein/Place Royale.

The Safety Village of Home Affairs at the Zavel/Sablon is rolling out the red carpet! On the programme: demonstrations (intro to diving, dog handlers, freeing people from vehicles, resuscitation), games (“virtual reality”, Kids-ID puzzle, water games, football and many prizes to be won. Our safety experts will offer information (BE-Alert, ikwordbrandweer.be, emergency number 112) and prevention advice (theft, fire). Because your safety is our job. So come and have a look!

The Defence village extends from the Kleine Zavel/Petit Sablon over Regentschapsstraat/Rue de la Régence and Koningsplein/Place Royale down to the Coudenberg. Military personnel will be demonstrating their equipment and missions. In various places it will be possible to participate in adventurous activities like a real soldier: climbing towers, an obstacle path, a death ride, etc.

4:00 p.m. - Military and civilian parade
The traditional military and civilian parade will take place on Paleizenplein/Place des Palais starting at 4 p.m. This year, the theme is ‘Respect for the past. Trust in the future.’

On the occasion of the centenary commemoration of the end of the First World War, the parade will include a historical element (clothing and equipment from the past). Foreign delegations will also take part, demonstrating their partnerships with Belgium.

11 p.m. - Fireworks - Paleizenplein/Place des Palais
To conclude this National Day, the FPS Chancery of the Prime Minister and the Association for the Advancement and Promotion of Brussels are organising a grand musical firework display, which is being set off from the gardens and roof of the Academy Palace. The public can admire the fireworks free of charge from Paleizenplein/Place des Palais.

The website www.2107.be provides all the information: the festive programme in detail (activities, parade), a plan of the festive zone, mobility information, a presentation of the organising partners and photos and videos.