Carnival confetti banned in 57 cities and towns


As the weekend’s Carnival parades approach, many residents are facing a ban on one of their favourite parts of the celebrations – throwing confetti

‘It’s just impossible to clean up’

As we approach Carnival celebrations in Flanders, residents need to ask themselves: Is confetti allowed in my city? Fifty-seven municipalities in the region have a partial or complete ban on throwing confetti outdoors.

Throwing confetti during Carnival parades is popular among both those marching in the parade and those watching it. While some municipalities have asked parade participants to take it easy with confetti, others have banned it outright over the years.

All that colourful confetti isn’t good for the environment, but it’s mostly the mess that bothers city elders. Menen in West Flanders tried to ban confetti last year but – following public outcry – decided to allow it during the beginning and end of the Carnival parade.

“Even after three months, Carnival confetti can still be seen on the sidewalks,” Menen city councillor Laurent Coppens told Focus-WTV at the time. “After a rain, it’s just impossible to clean up. It’s annoying.”

Most of the towns that have a complete ban on confetti are fairly small, such as Lichtervelde in West Flanders and Assenede in East Flanders. But Antwerp has also outlawed confetti, as have Kortrijk and Tongeren.

Eco confetti in Genk

Other municipalities – like Sint-Niklaas and Ghent – allow it only via a written request. In Genk, the city buys a special biodegradable confetti and hands it out to parade participants and crowds.

Other towns have other kinds of partial bans. In Essen, in the far north of Antwerp province, for instance, confetti is only allowed during Carnival.

A majority of the bans are found in Limburg, possibly due to its being home to much of Flanders’ open spaces, forests and heathland. Aalst, home to Belgium’s largest Carnival parade – recognised as Unesco heritage – has no ban.

VRT has created a helpful map that shows which municipalities have a (partial) ban on confetti.