Smile, You’re ‘Branded’”

Published on : 14 Nov 2023

Wink from the new working groupe “Cadre de vie”

“European Quarter of Brussels”

Hear ye, hear ye, noble people, ladies and gentlemen. Since November 9th, we no longer inhabit an ordinary neighbourhood – but a “marque” or shall I say, a “Brand.” It seems that we, humble residents of the modest GAQ, have participated in the “process of in-depth consultation with all stakeholders in the neighborhood,” including “associations, professionals, European and regional institutions, cultural sector, neighbourhood committees, etc.” This “European Quarter of Brussels” brand would therefore also be ours.

From now on, the entire operation is public, and very public indeed: information/communication sessions; press conferences; websites; logos to be displayed on shop windows and various locations. Let’s be good sports; this culmination echoes the demands of those who have been causing a stir for the past 30 years, calling for a better sharing of public space, control over changes in the volumes of single-family homes, sidewalk renovations, and the fight against nocturnal noise. Someone calculated that our European quarter would represent 12 to 20% of the Brussels economy and would be Brussels’ leading tourist attraction. From Manneken Pis to Square Ambiorix, there would be only a step for visitors – if only the official perimeter of this famous “European Quarter” made a little more room for what we, at GAQ, call the square district and its surroundings. From there to imagine that, by virtue of this oversight, we might suffer the inconveniences of all announced changes without benefiting from the results, there is only one step. Many have taken it.

Okay, as the information supposed to attract people – even THE world – to the neighborhood emphasizes, let’s concede that it is not the most “lively” in the capital: translation, one can still hope to fall asleep before midnight without earplugs. We are recognized for some welcome signs of civilisation: schools, shops, services, cafes, restaurants (sorry, “eateries,” it sounds more internationally mishmash, albeit less appetizing). But all of this needs a dusting off facilitated by the magical effect of the “brand.” We will be converted, even by force, and we will ask for more.

And no, there is no risk that the square district will become an avatar of the gutted Avenue de Stalingrad, or that the Schuman flying saucer will sink into the underlying tunnels, or that the local streets will be destroyed by the traffic of construction sites. We are given a brand, let’s be happy. It is even an opportunity to take a look at a recent book, “Le roman national des marques” see F.T. 14-15 November,” which describes how politicians, now incapable of creating a national history or a sense of belonging, have delegated this task to businesses.

Well, well.

From the blog