Christmas in Belgium

As the year’s end draws near, the Christmas markets blossom in many cities and towns in Belgium. The festivities really begin with St. Nicholas on December 6th. Shops display holiday treats such as marzipan, flat hard cakes known as ‘klaasjes’ and ‘speculoos’, a hard gingerbread molded in the form of St. Nicholas.

In all major cities, shopping will be possible on the four Sundays preceding the holiday. The local Tourist Offices can provide visitors with details on the numerous nativity scenes on display, Christmas markets, concerts and other seasonal events.

Brussels will hold its annual European Christmas market in the street leading from the Grand’ Place to the former Fish Market from December 6 through January 6, 2004. The market recalls Christmas traditions reminiscent of those held throughout Europe during the Middle Ages. An array of products from all the countries of the European community will be available in a warm and friendly atmosphere. Many Belgian products from smaller towns and cities will also tempt the holiday shoppers. In addition to great buys there will be jugglers, musicians, painters, poets and musical groups. This market with its cheerful lights, delicious aromas and a vast number of stalls promises a true holiday atmosphere.   From December 23 to January 5, 2003, it will be the turn of a crafts and gourmet market to surprise and delight you!

In the city of Liege, 155 decorated wooden cottages form a magical Christmas Village throughout the month of December. For opening hours and details call 011324/254 9797.   During the month of December, the Eastern part of the country offers an ideal place to spend a few hours. Don’t miss the opportunity to attend a Christmas concert given by regional choirs and musical societies during the period of Advent, when the Christmas lights appear! For information please contact the Tourism Office of the East Cantons at Tel: 0113280/22 76 64 Fax: 0113280/22 65 39.  Many towns and villages throughout Belgium hold Christmas markets. Most will be aglow with colorful illuminations around their main streets and shopping centers.

Contact the local tourist offices for dates and activities and log onto www.visitbelgium.com

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