Belgium honours its heroes on its national day

Belgium is today marking its national holiday, the anniversary of the swearing in of its first king, but just like last year the pandemic is casting a long shadow over proceedings.  Last week’s floods mean that the mood is also sober.

It’s Belgium’s 140th national holiday, but the traditional fireworks have been cancelled.  There are no large outdoor parties and the public is being shunned from the route of the military parade that will take place.

This year’s parade includes two novelties.  Crown princess Elisabeth will take part in the military march-past, while for the first time Princess Delphine of Belgium, King Albert’s child born out of wedlock, will attend for the first time. The crown princess is a cadet at the Royal Military Academy in Brussels, where during the past year she has been initiated into the military life. Princess Delphine still went by the surname Boël last year, but in the meantime, as a natural child of King Albert, she won her case for official recognition in the courts.

The floods mean that today’s programme was revisited.  Unlike last year the military parade is on, but out of respect for the flood victims has been cut to 26 minutes instead of 40. Much of the equipment and many of the people scheduled to take part have been deployed in the disaster zone.

A helicopter display above the royal palace has been cancelled as was last night’s concert planned at the Palace of Fine Arts. The outdoor National Bal on the Vossenplein in Brussels too was axed due to the pandemic.

The theme of today’s events is a display to honour our heroes.  Initially, this concerned our heroes in health care, but rescue workers, who took part in operations to tackle the floods, are now also being honoured.

Top stories