Sunday opening in Brussels

Shops in the centre of Brussels opened on a Sunday for the first time since the whole area within the inner ring road was given official recognition as a tourist zone. Sunday trading is severely limited under Belgian trading legislation. However, exceptions are made for areas officially defined as tourist zones.

From next month the shops in central Brussels will be open on the first Sunday of the month, as is the case in some other towns and city elsewhere in Flanders.

While tourists and local shoppers enjoyed the opportunity to be able to shop on Sunday, the unions are lest pleased. They fear for the effect it will have on shop staff and locals that live in Brussels city centre.

Kristel Van Damme of the Christian Trade Union ACV told the VRT that “We should not ignore the fact that working on Sunday has an impact on workers’ home lives. It also has consequences for people that live here as it means extra traffic”.

The small business association Unizo says that it is not against shops opening on Sunday, as long as it isn’t too often and the city authorities do enough to advertise the fact that the shops are open.

Unizo’s Chairman Karel Van Eetvelt told the VRT that “Antwerp is a good example.” There the shops are open one Sunday per month and the city authorities engage in city marketing by organising cultural events on the Sunday’s that the hops are open.

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