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A 600,000-Flower Carpet Is Beautifying Brussels

The huge “Flower Carpet” is built once every two years.

That big colorful rectangle is made out of flowers.

That big colorful rectangle is made out of flowers. (All photos: Copyright Wim Vanmaele)

On your average day, the Grand Place in Brussels is fascinating in its own way—its UNESCO World Heritage Site description calls it “remarkably homogenous,” full of serious edifices. But once every two years, for about four days, the stony square gets all dressed up. With the help of the people of Belgium, it covers itself in 600,000 flowers—the famous “Brussels Flower Carpet.”

The flower carpet is a tradition dating back to 1971. This year’s celebrates Belgium’s diplomatic relationship with Japan, and was designed by Fuji Suzuki, a young Japanese artist. It was constructed over the course of eight hours by hundreds of volunteers, who, following a color plan laid out on the ground, hand-placed each begonia, dahlia, and bark bit.

People in Brussels can visit the carpet at the Grand-Place through Monday. Everyone else can enjoy internet photos, which, although they don’t smell like anything, at least will never start to wilt.

Before: boxes of flowers outside the square.

Before: boxes of flowers outside the square.

Volunteers carefully place hundreds of thousands of flowers.

Volunteers carefully place hundreds of thousands of flowers.

After: the square becomes a box of flowers.

After: the square becomes a box of flowers.

A detail of the finished carpet.

A detail of the finished carpet.

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