Wild swimming in Brussels called off over safety concerns


The lake in Ter Kamerenbos was due to become a swimming pool this weekend, but organisers have had to cancel the event for health reasons

Expedition swim

An open-air swimming experiment in the Ter Kamerenbos lake in Brussels will not be going ahead this weekend, due to water safety concerns resulting from this week's hot weather.

About 900 people had registered to take part in the event, part of the experimental Expedition Swim project in which three Brussels ponds and lakes are opened to swimmers.

This weekend's event has been called off after tests revealed a high concentration of E.Coli bacteria in the water, caused by high temperatures. Because it takes three days for the results of the water samples to come back, Wednesday was the deadline for deciding whether it was safe to swim at the weekend.

The first phase of Expedition Swim went ahead as planned last weekend in the Neerpede pond in Anderlecht. The next one is planned for the Visserij pond in Bosvoorde on 3 and 4 August, and organisers are in talks to find an alternative date for the Kamerenbos swim.

Meanwhile, a handful of municipal swimming pools in Flanders are offering free entry on Friday to allow people to cool off.

Thursday was the hottest day ever recorded in Belgium, beating Wednesday's record, with 40.7°C measured in Beitem, West Flanders.

The heatwave has put Belgium's transport networks under pressure, with damage to overhead power lines delaying trains. The coast tram was suspended on Thursday afternoon, and a Thalys train on the Paris-Amsterdam route was stranded outside Mechelen, prompting the rail operator to temporarily stop ticket sales and encourage passengers to rebook for another day. 

Photo courtesy Expedition Swim