This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Belgium's National Day celebrations on 21 July are changing. The festivities will pay homage to the heroes of the COVID-19 crisis and commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
The programme of 21 July 2020 :
- 14:00 - King Philippe and the royal family arrive at place des Palais
- Flyover by five F-16 jets releasing smoke to create a Belgian flag and speech by the King
- Procession of 10 historical vehicles from the Second World War
- Flyover by a military helicopter with the Belgian flag
- The ceremony finishes with a homage to the heroes of the coronavirus crisis
Alongside the ceremony there will be concerts (with no audience) broadcast live from 14:00. Belgian artists will perform songs related to the health crisis in "unique" venues throughout Belgium, as well as on place des Palais. The artists include Alice on the Roof, Daan, Henri PFR, Selah Sue, Ozark Henry and Blackwave.
The National day festivities will be broadcast live on TV and social media channels.
Please be advised: there will be no parade, festivities in the park, Resto National, Bal National or firework display
Of course you could follow Belgium’s national day celebrations on the TV from the comfort of your armchair. But there’s no way it can compare to being part of the festivities in the capital! So, come to Brussels and join the party!
You could also start early on 20 July, with a concert by the National Orchestra of Belgium in BOZAR, or something more popular: the National ball in the Marolles district. On the eve of the national holiday, place du Jeu de Balle - the beating heart of this popular Brussels neighbourhood – hosts no frills and no fuss festivities full of enthusiasm, humour and music that go on into the small hours of the morning.
Discover the Discover the Belgium’s National Days programme:
Mass and festivities
The Belgian Royal family kick off the National day the following morning with mass in Cathedral of Saint Michael and Saint Gudula, with the public beginning their celebrations from 10 am. From the Palace of Justice to in front of Parliament there will be a whole host of activities and entertainment.
The impressive traditional parade of the armed forces, police and emergency services takes place in the morning, with the aircraft flyover as a highlight.
Fanfare and mussels with chips
Feeling peckish? Then wander down to place du Jeu de Balle after 4 pm for some mussels and chips. This traditional Belgian dish will be accompanied by brass band music, majorettes and accordions. Later that evening (from 7 pm) you can dance the night away at the “bal musette” musical ball.
Meanwhile, the party shows no signs of petering-out at the Royal Palace, with entertainment late into the night, from 11 pm a great musical firework display signals the end of an unforgettable day that you’ll be glad you didn’t follow on TV.