The journey to discovering nature can start anywhere – from a private garden or a natural museum, to a national park or a wildlife sanctuary. During this year’s European Heritage Days in Belgium-Brussels, it started at the very heart of the city.
With the official theme Nature in the City, European Heritage Days in Brussels were dedicated to discovering, observing, exploring, and understanding nature in urban settings. This exciting approach to the Heritage and Nature theme helped uncover a number of city’s hidden natural gems and give new meanings to nature in our everyday lives.
As explained by Rudi Vervoort, Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region, responsible for Monuments and Sites, nature can be celebrated in a variety of ways:
“Nature is not only present in these havens of greenery, it is also depicted on the façades of the region’s buildings. Flowers, plants and animals are all represented in sgraffitos, tiles and stained glass windows. You simply have to look up and pay attention to appreciate the extent of this olfactory and visual greenery in Belgium’s capital city.”
To showcase its natural richness, the Brussels region opened over one hundred sites - mills and farms, parks and gardens, historic and religious buildings. The events took place on 16 and 17 September, when visitors could follow the traces of nature in their favourite neighbourhoods thruogh a number of activities.
From walks, bicycle tours and hiking trails, to workshops, exhibitions, festivals, and lectures, they could enjoy the beauties and mysteries of nature where they have never noticed them before. A safari tour and the exhibition Beyond the River… The Green City in central Brussels, as well as bicycle rides along the Senne, visits to different public and private gardens, and tours in historic buildings were just some of the events that were available during the celebrations.
By presenting its visual greenery and the diversity of nature-inspired areas, as well by highlighting the relationship between architecture and nature, European Heritage Days in Brussels offered a new view of the city’s history and culture. Thousands of participants who joined the events showed how important this theme is and how it can change our perspectives of even the areas about which we thought we knew everything.