One million flowers: Photos of the Brussels Flower Carpet

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Looking for interesting things to photograph in Brussels isn’t very hard. In a country of weird things, it seems every turn around a corner reveals something worthy of a small photo shoot. Not to mention the stylish bobo’s (ie, hipsters) that walk the streets of the capital of Europe.

From decadent meals at top-tier restaurants to the stylish hipsters in neighborhoods like Saint Gery or Saint Giles, there are so many photo-worthy opportunities in Brussels. I was lucky enough to visit Brussels during their bi-annual Flower Carpet presentation—a truly quirky event in downtown Brussels.

2012 Brussels Flower Carpet

The Brussels Flower Carpet occurs every other year at the Grand-Place in downtown Brussels—near most tourist hotels and attractions. The carpet is made up of nearly one million begonia flowers. Each year, the city picks a theme for the carpet and unveils the design at a nighttime opening ceremony. The event is extremely popular with tourists and locals alike—notably because it’s kind of a bizarre event. Not very surprising for Brussels, though. (Read: Belgium is weird)

The 2012 theme for the Brussels Flower Carpet was generically: Africa. This year’s flower carpet used barks and other precious materials like sand, soil and other pigments to create the colorful carpet. The process for making a flower carpet seems to be pretty involved and involves lots of planning. Just imagine the type of planning that requires planting and growing one million begonias so that they’ll be ready to transplant into the flower carpet at the appropriate time. If you’re interested, learn a bit more about how they make the flower carpet on CherylHoward.com.

View the Flower Carpet from above

The bi-annual flower carpet is free to the public—it’s right in the middle of Brussels’ biggest main square so it’d be hard to keep private for long. However if you’re interested in getting a panoramic view, the town hall opens up and charges 5€ to view from their panoramic platform and balcony. Each evening there’s a light and sound show open to the public as well.

Brussels’ town hall building is impressive in its own right. I loved the funny-looking gargoyles on the building’s exterior.

Visit the Flower Carpet early

The flower carpet lasts for just five days. For a bi-annual event you don’t really have a lot of time to see the flowers. Because the one million begonias are laid out in the sun and heat, dead, for five days—don’t expect the colors to last.

Disclosure: I received a backstage visit to the 2012 Flower Carpet courtesy of Belgien-Tourismus.

Blogs published by Adam Groffman • Please note some posts do make me some money, but I never sacrifice my integrity in exchange for a favorable review. Read the full disclosure policy.

5 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Nice photos, particularly the gargoyle characters that are easy to miss. For the best views of the flowers, try and get a window seat in the stately Roy d’Espagne bar at the bottom of the square.

    • Hey Michael,
      Thanks! And that sounds like a great tip. I thought the view was better on the ground level than from above, to be completely honest.

  2. Dropping by from the Carnival of Europe! How did you get to take the big pic? Did you go up the City Hall? I was there in the Grand Place last February. It was sooooo cold that we had to take refuge in the Beer Museum! Wish to go back to Belgium during summer, or better yet, spring or fall.

  3. Oh Wow! How very beautiful!

    • It’s a really unique sight to see, Emme!

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