Belgium’s National Day celebration on July 21st are back this year and will take place without special health restrictions. The news were announced on Friday July 8th by Brussels Mayor Philippe Close and the Syndicat d’Initiative-Bruxelles Promotion, which organizes the “Fête au Parc” or Party in the Park between the Palace of Justice and the Parliament.
The festivities will begin on Wednesday, July 20th at 7:00 pm on the Place du Jeu de Balle, where nearly 15,000 people are expected. “This year two important figures of Brussels: Freddy Thielemans who was on the stage of the National Ball and the Great Jojo who came every other year to the National Ball,” said Philippe Close, Mayor of Brussels. Freddy Thielemans was the mayor of Brussels from 2001 to 2013; Jules Jean Vanobbergen was a Belgian singer-songwriter better known as Grand Jojo in French and Lange Jojo in Dutch.
We are very happy because it has been three years since we had a National Ball.Philippe Close, Mayor of Brussels
The date commemorates the day when in 1831, a forty-year old German prince from the Saxe-Cobourg-Saalfeld duchy stood on the grounds of the Royal Palace in Brussels and was sworn in as Leopold I, King of the Belgians. After several months of skirmishes between revolutionary forces in the southern provinces —present day Belgium— and the army of king William I of the Netherlands, Belgium became independent.
Most European powers were against the creation of an independent Belgium and Leopold’s arrival gave hope to the people, so 21st July was chosen as a National Day. The country was established as a constitutional monarchy covering the Flemish Region of the Southern Netherlands and Wallonia. For centuries, Belgium has been a crossroad in Western Europe and many cultures have been blended in a relatively small area: French, German and Dutch are the official languages.
The fireworks, traditionally shot from the garden of the Palais des Académies in front of the Place des Palais, and a large concert will take place in the Parc du Cinquantenaire, respectively at 23:00 and 21:00. Details will be communicated in the days preceding the event by the Prime Minister’s Chancellery. Artists such as Alice on the Roof, Coely, Typh Barrow, Salvatore Adamo, Henri PFR and Jérémie Makiese will perform on stage. The concert will be followed by a DJ set.
We also celebrate the 100th birthday of Toots Thielemans who was from the Marolles neighborhood.Philippe Close, Mayor of Brussels
There will be the Grand Jojo orchestra and dancers who will perform with Lou Deprijck, Jean-Luc Fonck and the comedian Kody. The public will also be invited to whistle to the tunes of Bluesette in tribute to jazz musician Toots Thielemans. Security checks will be carried out at the various entrances. The National Ball will be broadcast live on television on Bx1 and Bruzz.
On Thursday, July 21st, the “Fête au Parc” will offer a multitude of free activities from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm in the Park of Brussels and the Rue de la Régence. There will be a police village on the Place Poelaert in addition to the vehicles of the Defense escorting the route. Many museums, places of worship and institutions will also be open to the public. The civilian and military parade will start at 4:00 pm.
On the Place du Jeu de Balle, the National Brol will offer from 08:00 to 10:00 a.m. on its stalls objects of all kinds evoking the symbolic ”Belgitude”. At 17:00, the National Restaurant, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, will be set up on these same cobblestones. Some 1,300 mussels and French fries will be served to the guests, 250 of which will be offered to people on low incomes. This year, the menu will also include a sausage stoemp, a dish much appreciated by Toots Thielemans. The meal will be animated by an orchestra, a brass band, majorettes of all generations and a karaoke.