Citizen Lights

Light Festival in Schaarbeek


By: Sophie

While Brussels is having its Bright Brussels Light Festival, the commune of Schaarbeek is hosting a similar event called Citzen Lights. This festival is much smaller, but the main attraction -a giant mechanic doll- is really impressive and worth the visit. And as there are hardly no tourists around in Schaarbeek, it feels more authentic.

We started off in the Musée Schaerbeekois de la Bière, as the museum is functioning as the information center of the event. So we grabbed a map and started exploring the Avenue Louis Bertrand, where the facades of the houses were all nicely lit in different colors.

There were some installations around the St. Servaas Church, but most had closed by the time we arrived. There was one 'temple of light' left, which was completely abandoned.

Citizen Lights

As we walked back through Avenue Louis Bertrand, we were met by a giant walking doll. About 10 meters in height, it came almost as high as the surrounding houses. A crane was used to hold the torso of the doll, while men were holding its legs and arms to make it walk and move. The result was that it looked as if the huge creature was walking in slow motion. I really loved this 'living' work of art.

Citizen Lights Citizen Lights Citizen Lights
Citizen Lights
Citizen Lights Citizen Lights
Citizen Lights

Then our attention was drawn away from the doll by the bangs of some fireworks behind us. When this had finished, we walked around looking for more installations in the surrounding streets, but there wasn't much happenening anymore apart from an installation that used drops of water to produce music and a puppet show where puppets danced on rock'n' roll music.

Citizen Lights Citizen Lights
Citizen Lights

After strolling a bit more along the avenue with it's beautifully lit trees, we collectively agreed it was time to warm up in a bar. As my favourite bar in Schaarbeek -Barboteur- was crammed, we tried another one on Chaussée de Haecht, Bar du Gaspi, which turned out to be a nice place as well. If you're hungry, you can order a small plate of food for around 3 euros.

I guess 21:00 was a bit late to arrive at the light festival of Schaarbeek, as most light shows had already finished. That's why I haven't got a lot of photos. Even though I didn't see much, I enjoyed our visit and would recommend anyone to go and check it out for themselves. (But try to arrive earlier!)


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