Flanders to go green for St Patrick’s Day


Ypres and Antwerp are taking part in a global celebration of Ireland for the first time as they light up landmark buildings in green on 17 March

On the list

Monuments in Flanders and Brussels will be turning green next week to highlight the regions’ links with Ireland. For the first time, Antwerp city hall and the Cloth Hall in Ypres are taking part in the Global Greening campaign, run by Tourism Ireland and the Irish Embassy in Belgium.

The initiative, which began in 2010, sees landmark buildings and monuments around the world illuminated in green to mark Saint Patrick’s Day on 17 March. The mayor of Ypres, Jan Durnez, said he was honoured that the Cloth Hall (pictured) had been invited to join the Global Greening event, given that many Irish soldiers died in the city during the First World War.

Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever, meanwhile, was pleased that the city hall – a Unesco World Heritage Site – would also be part of the campaign. Ireland’s links with Antwerp date back to the 17th century, when Irish students studying with the Jesuits boarded in two of the city’s oldest houses, De Moriaen and De Witte Craene.

These local landmarks are joined on the list by Brussels’ Grote Markt and the Marktplein in Bruges, as well as sites around the world such as Niagara Falls, the Colosseum and the Great Wall of China. The Manneken Pis will be dressed in traditional Irish costume for the day.

“St Patrick’s Day offers a unique opportunity to promote Ireland in Belgium, and I’m delighted that Antwerp and Ypres are going green,” said Irish ambassador to Belgium Éamonn Mac Aodha.

Photo courtesy Stad Ieper