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Belgium’s National Day Concert cancelled to honour flood victims

By Ministério da Cultura - Assinatura do Acordo para realização Europalia- Brasil na Embaixada da Bélgica em Brasília, CC BY 2.0, Wiki Commons

On Monday, the Belgian Royal Palace announced that the traditional concert for the National Day celebrations has been cancelled due to the declaration of a nationwide mourning day for victims of the floods.

Belgium’s National Day is celebrated every year on the 21st of July to commemorate the day in 1831 when King Leopold I took the oath and was proclaimed King of the Belgians. 

Traditionally, on the evening of the 20th of July, the Royal Family goes to the Bozar, the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels, for a prelude to the National Day festivities in the form of a concert. 

This will be the first time in recent history that the National Day concert has been cancelled; in 2020, despite the global restrictions, the concert still took place and was instead offered live and at later times on both French and Dutch-Belgian TV channels. 

Since about two weeks ago, the centre of Europe, specifically Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, have been hit by heavy rains, which have flooded several provinces throughout these countries. 

The heaviest his nation is no doubt Germany, which, as of Monday, counts 163 certified victims, and an undefined number of people still seems to be unaccounted for. Belgium, despite its lower number of victims, is mourning the loss of at least 31 people, but, because the situation is constantly changing, the numbers are, too. 

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde have toured several villages and cities over the weekend, trying to better understand the situation and to lend their support and their voice to first responders, but also to those who have been evacuated. 

Belgium’s National Day is usually celebrated with a Te Deum (or Thanksgiving Service) and a military parade. Both those events will now adopt a much more somber tone, due to the ongoing loss of life the country is experiencing. 

Restrictions were already in place due to ongoing precautionary measures currently in place throughout the globe, and now the ceremony will take on an even more poignant meaning. 

It is going to be the first time Princess Délphine takes part in the celebration, after having been recognised as King Albert’s daughter in October of 2020, and, has such, having received the correct styling and title. 

It is also going to be a first for Princess Elisabeth, the heir to the throne, because she is scheduled to parade during the ceremony with the rest of her Belgium Military Academy classmates during the military parade,