Lonely Planet Writer

Brussels’ magical Flower Carpet returns this weekend

A magical carpet of flowers will once again transform the square outside Brussels’ Grand Palace this weekend.

A giant flower carpet is pictured within the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Turkish workers’ migration to Belgium at the Grand Place next to the town hall on August 14, 2014 in Brussels, Belgium. Image by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Every two years, the Belgian square is covered in an array of brightly coloured flowers that turn the area into a magical floral carpet. This year, the Brussels Flower Carpet returns to celebrate a Latin American theme for the first time ever. The carpet is inspired by Guanajuato, a historic Mexican town and Unesco World Heritage site that shares a rich tradition of making carpets. According to the organizers, each year for ‘La Octava Noche’ in Uriangato, a city in the south of Guanajuato, residents decorate the streets with coloured sawdust to create ephemeral carpets and honour their patron saint, St. Michael.

The plan for this year’s flowers rendered in miniature. Image by FLOWER CARPET 2018

Once again, there will be more than 500,000 flowers used to turn the site in Brussels into a colourful work of art. However, like flowers, the work of art is transient, only lasting from 16 to 19 August, when thousands of people will flock to the site to admire the 1800-square-metre carpet.

This year’s design was created by Ana Rosa Aguilar Aguado from Uriangato, which has incorporated tradition symbols from Guanajuato. It was then translated into a large-scale design for the flowers and is the most complex design since the first carpet in 1971. The massive design will be assembled by about a 100 volunteers, using dahlias, grass and bark, and the famous Belgian begonias from the region of Ghent. The construction will take place from 8 am to noon on 16 August, with an official opening and light show at 10 pm.

The flower carpet under construction on August 14, 2014 in Brussels, Belgium. Image by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

To get the best view, visitors can buy a ticket to view the show from the City Hall balcony. The balcony is open on 16 August from 1 to 6 pm, and 17 to 19 August from 10 am to 10 pm. As presale tickets have sold out, they can be purchased at the entrance for €6 on the day of your visit.