Governor of West Flanders wants free train tickets suspended during the Christmas holidays

The Governor of West Flanders Carl Decaluwé has called for free train journeys offered through the “Hallo Belgium” rail pass to be suspended during the Christmas holidays. The pass that was an initiative of the previous Federal Government offers two single rail journeys within Belgium each month from October 2020 to March 2021. However, last weekend’s scenes at the Wintergloed light festival in Bruges have made Governor Decaluwé issue his call to suspend the pass during the two-week Christmas and New Year break. 

Many of the estimated 10,000 visitors that flooded into the centre of Bruges for the start of Wintergloed on Saturday evening went there by train.

"The shops will be reopening soon, and they will close at 6pm. People can then hang about in the city to go and look at the light show. This is asking for trouble. If then on top of this extra people come with free train tickets you know in advance that there will be issues at tourist attractions like this”, Mr Decaluwé said.

This is not the first time that the Governor of West Flanders has asked for the tickets to be suspended.

Mr Decaluwé is asking the federal authorities to provide a definition of what an event is. The Interior Minister has said that Wintergloed is not an event, the Governor ay that this is incompressible. Furthermore, he wasn’t even made aware that Wintergloed was taking place and only found out about it in the newspapers.

Mr Decaluwé hopes to get answers to his questions at a meeting between the provincial governors and the Crisis Centre on Tuesday evening.

Top stories