Photo of the week: Free as a bird


More than 34,000 origami cranes were deposited in front of the prime minister’s office this week by Flemish organisations urging more investment in peacekeeping

New record

How long would it take you to make an origami crane? Imagine the collective hours, then, that went into making nearly 34,000 of them.

Over the last few months, people across Flanders made a total of 33,842 cranes using the ancient Japanese art of paper folding. The colourful flock was then deposited in its entirety in front of the prime minister’s office on Wetstraat in Brussels.

The action was organised by peace organisation Pax Christi Vlaanderen and the community association Rodenbachfonds as part of the UN’s Peace Week. The message they wanted to deliver to the prime minister was that more needs to be invested in peace and less in weapons.

Belgium is currently a member of the UN Security Council. “In recent years, Belgium has substantially decreased its concrete commitments,” said Thomas Deweer of Pax Christi. “Between 2006 and 2019, Belgium contributed only $7.8 million to the UN Peacebuilding Fund. We can do better than that.”

Schools, rest homes, community groups and municipal authorities all helped to create the cranes, which represent longevity and good fortune in Japanese culture. Not only were the cranes an impressive site on Wetstraat, they also set a record for the most origami cranes in one place in Belgium. The previous record was only about 10,000.

Photo: Nils Quintelier/BELGA