Alternative fireworks displays for 11 July

Summary

Some towns have cancelled their fireworks displays for Flanders’ Community Day because of the heat, but some are turning to a company that has developed a safer alternative

Party savers

The heatwave has caused local police forces to discourage residents from purchasing and setting off fireworks on 11 July, Flemish Community Day. Even city-sponsored displays are being cancelled in Flanders. The lack of rain and intense heat has caused dry conditions that are more dangerous than usual.

According to Flanders News, some towns are turning to an alternative form of fireworks that go off closer to the ground and also make less noise. These are not only safer in terms of potential fires but easier on pets.

Personal use of fireworks is legal in Belgium, but they must be stamped with one of the following:  BE, followed by three letters and four figures and ending in a ‘D’; or a ‘CE’ designation, with either a category 1 or 2 mentioned. The government has produced a brochure for the safe use of fireworks.

Flemish Community Day is celebrated every year on 11 July, the anniversary of the Battle of the Golden Spurs. It was on that day in 1302 that thousands of farmers and other citizens took up arms against a French army on horseback.

Against all odds, the Flemish won the battle, and the date has gone down in local history as a symbol of dissent against foreign rule. In Kortrijk, where the battle was fought, there is a museum dedicated to the story.

Most cities and villages across Flanders are planning celebrations of one kind or another, with Antwerp and Brussels throwing massive parties. And most activities are free.

Flemish minister-president Geert Bourgeois will deliver his annual Community Day speech on Tuesday evening in Kortrijk. It is followed on Wednesday by the Flemish Community Honours, awarded every year to outstanding citizens. This year there are 14 recipients, including former journalist Gaston Durnez, chemistry professor emeritus Harry Martens and Michèle Sioen, a pioneer in women’s business leadership.

Photo: Getty

Flemish Community Day

Commemorating the anniversary of the Battle of the Golden Spurs, 11 July is the official holiday of the Flemish Community.
History - The holiday celebrates the victory of local Flemish militias – mostly made up of infantry and peasants – over the French king’s army of knights near Kortrijk on 11 July, 1302. The holiday is a celebration of Flemish freedom and the continued speaking of Dutch. Public servants working for the government of Flanders get the day off, as do personnel working for provincial and local authorities.
Kick-off - Every year, the 11-day series of activities Vlaanderen Feest! (Flanders Fest!) kicks off the countdown to Flemish Community Day.
Kortrijk 1302 - A museum dedicated to the history behind the Battle of the Golden Spurs.
2 002

700th anniversary of the Battle of the Golden Spurs

1 100

Vlaanderen Feest! events organised in 2013

75

percentage of Flemish towns participating in Vlaanderen Feest!