The Brussels Flower Carpet is a bi-annual event that attracts lots of visitors from Belgium, neighboring countries, but also lots of international travelers from the other side of the world.
If you are also thinking of visiting Brussels for this beautiful spectacle, but are not sure what to expect or what to know when visiting the Brussels Flower Carpet, then this article is for you.
In this post, you can read about the Brussels Flower Carpet and find all the practical information for your visit. Take a look!
What is Brussels Flower Carpet
Just as the name suggests, the Brussels Flower Carpet is a carpet made of flowers. Well, it’s not really a carpet, but it sure looks like it… Set on the main town square of Brussels, UNESCO World Heritage Site Grand Place, the flower carpet is huge. It’s composed out of hundreds of thousands of colorful begonia flowers.
With 77 m length and 24 m width (253 x 79 ft) the carpet is massive (the total area is 1,800 m2 (19,000 sq ft)). It’s made out of up to a million of fresh flowers, set in patterns, and is a very impressive sight.
On the morning of the opening day, over 100 volunteers come together to make the carpet. Following a set composition, they turn the cobblestoned town square into a massive carpet in a matter of just several hours.
No two flower carpets are ever the same and a different theme is chosen for each festival. For example, the theme of 2018 was Mexico, 2016 – Japan, 2014 – Turkey, 2012 – Africa, etc. These themes are not just random; in most cases, they are chosen in order to commemorate a certain historic event.
When is Brussels Flower Carpet
Brussels Flower Carpet is set every two years (on even years) on the weekend around the Assumption Day in mid-August.
It’s always set on Thursday with an opening ceremony in the evening and stays on display till Sunday.
Good to know: This event had to be canceled in 2020, so there will be no flower carpet this year. Normally, the next edition of Brussels Flower Carpet should take place in mid-August 2022.
The first Brussels Flower Carpet dates from 1971, but it was not till 1986 that it became a regular bi-annual tradition.
This event is organized by a non-profit organization Tapis de Fleurs de Bruxelles. Together with a group of professional landscape architects and designers, they choose a theme for the next flower carpet. It can be anything from a specific event to a whole continent.
After the theme is decided, a design is made and the colors are chosen. Then, calculations are done in order to know how many flowers will be needed for the carpet. Needless to say that an event with this many fresh-cut flowers requires advance preparation…
It’s not a coincidence that begonias are the most-used flowers for the creation of the Brussels Flower Carpet. They come in a very big variety of colors and are resistant to all weather conditions, from sunshine and summer heat to rain and cold… Furthermore, Belgium is one of the world’s biggest exporters of begonia flowers.
Sometimes, the flower carpet is also decorated with small fountains. In the evenings, there is usually a light and music show that runs for the entire duration of the event.
Interesting to know: The original creator of the original Brussels Flower Carpet, Belgian architect Etienne Stautemans, had been making flower carpets since the 1950s. Over the years, his team has created over 180 flower carpets in a big number of European cities, in Argentina, and also in the U.S. However, they all agreed that the Brussels Grand Place provided the most magnificent setting for the flower carpet. So Brussels it was.
Brussels Grand Place
Grand Place (in French) or Grote Markt (in Dutch) is one of the most beautiful town squares in Europe. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The entire square is surrounded by beautiful guildhalls, one more impressive than the other. Most of the buildings here date from the 15th century and have been rebuilt in the 17th century. The impressive Town Hall of Brussels (Hôtel de Ville) with the 96-m (315 ft) high tower and the King’s House (Maison du Roi) that houses the Brussels City Museum are also located on the Grand Place.
I think that it’s indeed this stunning location that makes the Flower Carpet of Brussels an even more special and truly magnificent sight. Living in Belgium, we have been to Grand Place and seen the flower carpet countless times. And every time again, I am impressed by its beauty. The Grand Place is absolutely worth a visit in itself and the beautiful flowers are just the cherry on the cake.
How to Visit Brussels Flower Carpet
There is no special preparation required in order to see the Brussels Flower Carpet. Set in the Grand-Place, in the center of Brussels, the flower carpet is FREE to access for everybody.
Good to know: If you want to, you can get a ticket (that usually costs 5 EUR) to gain access to the balcony of the Town Hall of Brussels, from which you have an elevated view over the Grand Place market square and the carpet.
Usually, it is possible to get the tickets in advance online, but just a couple of weeks upfront. For this, just search ‘Brussels flower market tickets’ on the internet. You can also get the ticket on the day itself, but it’s likely to be very busy and the number of visitors allowed on the balcony at any given moment is limited.
TIP: You can also just enter any of the cafés on the Grand Place and go upstairs for an elevated view of the carpet. However, the chances of being able to find an empty table by the window, are really low. The following cafés have a higher floor: Le Roy d’Espagne, La rose blanche, La Chaloupe d’Or.
There are no opening hours. Once the flower carpet is set, it can be viewed day and night.
On the first evening of the event (Thursday), there is always an official opening ceremony. Often with fireworks and a beautiful light and music show, it’s really impressive. However, it’s also very crowded… It always is…
When Is the Best Time to Visit
If you are staying in Brussels during the Assumption weekend, I recommend that you visit the flower carpet several times, at different times of the day.
The best time to see Brussels Flower Carpet in all its glory and without the crowds is early in the morning or very late at night.
In the evenings, there is a light and music show that is really not to be missed. Expect it to be crowded, but it will be worth it.
If it’s very hot, the flowers will be nicest on the first days of the event. However, they really do their best to ensure that the flower carpet stays nice throughout the entire weekend.
How Much Time Do You Need to Visit Brussels Flower Carpet
You don’t need much time to see the Brussels Flower Carpet – you can just see it in less than 10 minutes. That being said, I suggest you plan 30-60 minutes for a visit because you’ll probably want to take some time to walk around the carpet and take some pictures from different angles.
Add another hour if you’re planning to go on the balcony of the Town Hall (maybe even longer, if you didn’t buy your ticket in advance).
How to Get There
Brussels Flower Carpet is set on the Grand Place, the central square of Brussels. It’s located within a very short walking distance from Brussels Central Station. You can reach it by car (not recommended), by train, and by public transport from anywhere within the city.
Where to Stay
For sightseeing, I recommend staying in Brussels city center, within a walking distance to Central Station.
Staying close to the Central Station is ideal because it’s so easy to walk to Grand Place and other Brussels attractions. Furthermore, it’s a perfect location if you want to visit other towns in Belgium by train (recommended means of transportation).
Below are some of the best-rated Brussels hotels in that area:
- Warwick Brussels Grand Place – 5*+
- Hilton Grand Place – 4*+
- Hotel Sandton Brussels Center – 4*+
- Novotel Grand Place – 4*
- Hotel Le Dixseptième – 4*
- 9Hotel Central – 3*
- Ibis Off Grand Place – 3*
So, this is our guide for visiting Brussels Flower Carpet. Planning a visit and have any questions that have not been covered in the article, feel free to leave a reply below.
More tips for your trip to Belgium:
- Where to go: Belgium Itinerary (best suggestions for 3-4 days)
- Antwerp: Best Things to Do in Antwerp
- Christmas Markets: 7 Best Christmas Markets in Belgium
- WWI Battlefields: Visit Ypres & WWI Battlefields in Belgium
- With kids: Best Theme Parks in Belgium & Antwerp with Kids
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