Every two years in August, a major event takes place in the Grand Place in Brussels: an ephemeral flower carpet is unveiled. Lined with 18th century buildings, this majestic square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site- and seeing it covered in flowers is a sight to behold. The first ever Flower Carpet was displayed in 1971, and the 2016 carpet will be the 20th.
Assembled with 600,000 begonias and stretching 75 meters long and 25 meters wide, the carpet is a huge logistical feat; it requires two years of preparation work. Since the flowers need to stay fresh for the four-day event, 100 volunteers assemble, just prior to the unveiling, to create the design on the ground—guided by a life-size design drawn on plastic over the cobblestones.
Taking place from August 12-August 15, the 2016 Flower Carpet is an homage to Japan, celebrating 150 years of Belgo-Japanese friendship. It will showcase the beauty of nature in the Japanese tradition with talismans like koi (representing strength), bamboo (a sign of good omens), cheery blossoms, birds, the wind and the moon. Visitors can admire the flower carpet in detail at the ground level, or enjoy a privileged birds-eye views from the balcony of the Brussels Town Hall.