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Fries yes, bath no: Brussels misses half the fun of summer

Fries yes, bath no: Brussels misses half the fun of summer

In the gray European neighborhood of Brussels, people from all EU countries and beyond meet. While it is well known that there is often political disagreement, there is at least one theme of collective amazement: the lack of a public outdoor pool, as is often emphasized, is a unique feature in Europe – and with summer approaching, parts of Newcomers are concerned.

People are more greedy for news about it—and in fact there have recently been at least small steps toward enjoying an outdoor pool: The “Pool is Cool” initiative set up a pop-up pool in town as early as 2021. This year, there’s a comeback in July. , where “Pool is Cool” has already been announced.

AFP/Francisco Seco

The creation of an outdoor swimming pool in Brussels has been discussed for years

45 minutes in cold water

Along the canal in the Anderlecht municipality in Brussels, you can then “really swim” in a 17 x 7 meter pool, as shown on the project’s homepage. However, all-free admission tickets only allow 45 minutes in the pool at pre-set times. After all: if you are not jealous, you can also watch others cool off from the rooftop and sunbathe on a large scale.

So far, it’s a drop in the ocean at best, but Pool is Cool’s stated goal is to “swim outdoors for every Brussels resident”: “Shouldn’t everyone have the opportunity to relax with friends and family in a hot summer’s day for a humid refreshment?” ?”, says the description of the now-started project “Je veux nager” – “I want to swim.”

Crowdfunding is used to raise money for free swimming courses for children and adults and to set up an eco-friendly water purification system. And the outdoor pool must remain in Brussels for years to come. Obviously, this was met with a response – the “Brussels Guide”, the e-mail newsletter of the Politico news page, which practically informs the entire EU “bubble” in Brussels of current events, as reported on the campaign.

There hasn’t been an outdoor pool since the 1970s

W: The initiative also wants to prove to the authorities that there is an interest in outdoor pools in the city. In any case, the situation in Brussels was completely different: there were outdoor swimming pools until the end of the seventies. And the last of them is a bathroom north-east of the city that was closed permanently in 1978.

People on the beach in Ostend

AFP/Virginia May

North Sea coast like Neusiedlersee in Brussels: In summer, places like Oostende roam the beaches

Since then, the residents of Brussels have had to relocate to the surrounding area. Chances are, not only are the few bathing lakes around the capital attract visitors. It takes an hour and a half to get from the EU Commission building to the Belgian coast. The temperature of the North Sea is usually no more than 20 degrees – to some, the 45-minute time window in a Brussels pop-up pool may seem all the more tempting.

Meat processing with outdoor rooftop pool

In any case, the people of Brussels promised improvements – and in the relatively near future one of the favorite topics of Brussels international correspondents could be brought to an end. The city agreed in February to construct a building in Anderlecht that will primarily be used, according to the Brussels Times, “for the manufacture of meat and other foods and as a parking garage”.

However, the roof should be used as an outdoor pool. According to the website of Pascal Smit of the Flemish Social Democrats Vorwett, Minister of State for Urban Planning in Brussels, there should be a “view of the Brussels skyline”. Scheduled to open in 2024, the district is partially funding the project. In February, it was said that partners had to be found first. It may not have been clear whether there will be French fries and beer soon (and given the odd location, many meat products) as cultural assets at Brussels’ first permanent outdoor pool for 40 years.

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