Retrospective 2013

Written by Frédéric Solvel - 07 Dec 2013, 00:00 (Updated: 08 Jan 2014, 13:46)
Retrospective 2013
One year, 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days… In 2013, Brussels managed to surprise us once again, perhaps even more than other years. Sometimes good surprises, sometimes bad. It’s time to hash out what happened in Brussels in 2013.


The year started out very chilly. We are graced with cool snow art from the group Flagel on Place Flagey. People in Brussels were less enchanted by the new recycling system incorporating those famous yellow and blue bags. 


On February 1st, Paris Hilton honored us with her presence for the inauguration of Gotha club. All of Brussels 2.0 was passionate about Bruciel, a webpage that traces back the city’s development decade by decade. The weather was also attracting crowds! On February 7th, the heavens delivered all the seasons in one day. Yippee! 



After two appearances in January, Flagel came back one last time in March with the "Pope Flagey" piece the day before the white smoke was released from the Vatican. At the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, a crowd assembled to see the Kandinsky exhibition. After a bit of a slow start, the Terracotta exhibition at the Bourse went wild. During this time, the local government congratulated the Brigade Biker section of the Brussels police for their efficient work. 


The beginning of April brought changes. The BIFFF took place for the first time at the Palais des Beaux-Arts. Adieu Tour & Taxis… A hoard of vampires took over the center looking for some brains to chew on during the ZomBIFFF parade.

While Brussels was slowly emerging from winter, the peregrine falcons settled in at the top of the Saints Michel and Gudule cathedral. Five eggs hatched in mid-April for all bird lovers or curious people to enjoy. 


May was about doing fun things. Like taking advantage of the princely crowd during the 20 kilometer race in Brussels. 

People did as they wished in this month, sometimes to the detriment of Brussels inhabitants. According to Jean Quatremer, Brussels is not pretty. In fact, it is “ugly and dirty”! Brussels reacted from all sides. They aren’t going to forget these words for a while. 

While a wave of rain was taking over the city and the temperatures were staying below 10 degrees, the skies looked good for the Anderlecht club who won their 32nd Belgian championship title.


In the beginning of summer, Carla Bruni mistakes the Ixelles ponds with the Antarctic Ocean; she waddled like a penguin in the polar ice field of Flagey right when 110 nudist cyclists pour out across the city. The cyclonudista demonstration hit the nail on the head for its 9th edition. Make way for some alternative mobility!

As for the city of Brussels, there were some progressive decisions made. The Belgian Beer Temple at the Bourse is set to be finished in 2018, while Mini-Europe and Océade were given a three year delay before they will be definitively closed in Heysel. 


The beginning of July was busy with the opening of camping in Brussels. In case you forgot, you can set up your tent in the bit of green space between the Avenue de la Couronne and the Chaussée de Wavre.

The month of July started out like normal. Brussels was getting into leisure mode. Apéros Urbains, Bruxelles-les-Bains, Roller Parade, Foire du Midi… And then Albert II came into the mix… Abdication, son enthroned, what a royal month! And to wrap it all up, an impressive fireworks display on July 21.

In the beginning of the month, the team from Top Chef was seen at Mont des Arts. Among the invited judges was Lio and Elio Di Rupo. Will be broadcasted on t.v. at the beginning of 2014.

Traditions on the Grand Place came in July. We had the Ommegang ceremony and the City of Brussels Pelota Grand Prix.


On Friday, August 9th, the traditional Meyboom was planted at the corner of the Rue du Marais and the Rue des Sables.

So that you won’t have to wait until next year for the flower carpet, Floralientime was born. The Town Hall was adorned with 1001 flowers.

From the 9th to the 18th, the decibels from the Brussels Summer Festival resonated through the streets of the center city. The program included: Amy MacDonald, Madness, Puggy, Arno,…

An automatic distributor of fries was launched near the Chaussée de Gand, but was quickly aborted (thankfully).


School is back in session with another great distraction: the third episode of the “Ce que disent les Bruxellois videos.

Before it was time for the Sunday Without Cars Day and the Heritage Days on the following weekends, the first weekend of the month was dedicated to sports. Friday night, Usain Bolt lit up the Memorial Van Damme once again. The next morning, we celebrated the first edition of the Brussels Cycling Classics! The international cycling line-up had Brussels as the star: the start at the Cinquantenaire and the finish at the Atomium.

From this month on, the city center became accessible by horse and carriage. All throughout the year the horse shoes will clack on the cobblestones in historic downtown. For the Wallonia Bruxelles Federation Party, Stromae heated up the Grand Place which was already sizzling from the supercharged Saule. 


At the beginning of October, Europalia India opened its doors until the end of January 2014. The firefighters of Brussels showed it all off as they posed for calendar photos...

For the first time, the Brussels Light Festival illuminated the canal for 4 days. 70,000 people saw the show from the embankments. The 35th anniversary of Jacques Brel’s death passes by practically unnoticed. 


A new star was brightening up the constellation of Brussels gastronomy when the Michelin Guide came out and gave a second star to Christophe Hardiquest’s Bon Bon.

For the Joyous Entry, King Philippe was once again on top of the Hotel de Ville where he also appeared as a newlywed in December ’99. A little later on, the natural Christmas tree was set up on the Grand Place. A Grand Place with a fresh look, thanks to the new LED lighting. What class!


The month of December started off under the motto of change in Brussels’ cultural world with the temporary closure of the Royal Central Africa Museum for renovation and the opening of the Fin-de-Siècle Museum, Rue de la régence. Things started shifting in the political realm as well. Freddy Thielemans retired after 12 years of being mayor and passed his position to Yvan Mayeur, former director of the CPAS.

The first edition of Viva for Life took place, the large initiative by Vivacité to support babies living under the poverty line. was there to help out! As we collaborate weekly with Vivacité Bruxelles Aller Retour, we gathered the sportiest people from both sides to go from Brussels to Liege by run & bike. Run & Bike for Life was thus born!

To close out this year right, take a look around the Place des Palais where two Brussels holiday events await you: Brussels Ice Magic and Brussels Skyliner. While you waited for the traditional fireworks display, the Coca-Cola billboard at De Brouckère turned in to a giant countdown clock

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