Belgium’s first ‘rage room’ takes off in Bruges

Summary

You might think that people in the ever-charming Bruges have every reason to be relaxed, but residents are flocking to Wreck It, where they can trash a roomful of stuff

All the rage

Need to let off some steam? Belgium’s first “rage room” offers the chance to destroy a room full of objects with a baseball bat for a full hour. The concept has been imported from Japan and has also proved successful in the US.

Michaël Bernaert decided to launch Wreck-It in Bruges after encountering a stressful period at work. “I’d seen a documentary about a rage room in Toronto, and I found it an intriguing idea,” he told Het Laatste Nieuws. “I found an empty space in Pelderijnstraat where cool events are sometimes organised.”

Prices start at €30, which gets participants a helmet and protective clothing. Then they – either individually or in a team – get to work trashing bottles, glasses, electronic equipment, furniture and other objects that have been recovered from recycling parks and rubbish dumps.

Customers can choose the music to accompany their experience, from heavy metal to classical. Wreck It’s website even goes so far as to describe the rage room as “a unique dating experience”. There are also team-building experiences, naturally.

‘Do whatever you want’

“We basically offer you a nice interior where you can do whatever you want, as long as you keep it legal,” the site says. “We just happen to also give you armour and put baseball bats inside the place.”

Packages include the basic Anti-Stress Pack and work up to Rage Against the Machine and Apocalypse Now. And there’s more: You and your friends who book a month in advance can Trash a Car. “Don’t worry,” reads the website, “we won’t need your car.”

So far, the Apocalypse now, a complete package for four, has been the most popular option. To Bernaert’s surprise, he gets up to three groups a day.

It really needs to look like a real room because that aids in the fantasy

- Wreck-It founder Michaël Bernaert

It certainly keeps him busy, he told the paper. “It really needs to look like a real room because that aids in the fantasy,” he said. “You can imagine how often I have to get more stuff to fit out the room.”

Bernaert has started a pick-up service to get a hold of throw-aways from households in Bruges and the surrounding area. The recycling firm Renewi comes to get the ensuing trash.

“I am really surprised by how successful this is,” he said. “I hadn’t dared dream of it. I’m striking while the iron’s hot and planning an expansion to other cities.”

Photo courtesy Hannes Vlogt/YouTube