This year, the National Day celebrations on Place des Palais in Brussels will have a special significance. The military and civilian parade will be dedicated to all those who have worked so tirelessly since the beginning of the pandemic. The occasion will also be marked by artistic performances in five unique locations in Belgium.
The programme of 21 July 2021:
The National Day celebrations on Place des Palais will be made up of three parts:
- From 14:00 to 14:40: The military parade and dynamic demonstration
- From 14:40 to 15:35: The civilians' parade with the pandemic's heroes and artistic performances
- From 15:35 to 15:40: The European anthem and the Brabançonne
This year, tributes will be paid to the pandemic's heroes; the theme has been split into four parts: education and youth; vaccines; care and health; logistics. Each of these four sections will make up a specific section of the civilians' parade. The pandemic's heroes will be honoured in the parade itself, but also through video testimonials and artistic performances in unique locations across the country.
The parade on Place des Palais will be accompanied by the Royal Band of the Belgian Guides, which will perform classic pieces by Belgian artists. The ceremony itself will be interspersed with musical and poetic performances from emblematic and breathtaking locations in Brussels and in the provinces of Namur, Limburg, Hainaut and Flemish Brabant. Each of the chosen venues has a link to one or more of the themes highlighted. Each performance will be attended live by a handful of the pandemic's heroes. The line-up is 100% Belgian: Esohe Weyden and Félix Radu, Loïc Nottet, Joost Zweegers (Novastar) and Portland, Iliona, Bazart, Zwangere Guy and Roméo Elvis.
The whole ceremony will be broadcast for the general public on Eén (VRT) and La Une (RTBF).
Please be advised: there will be no parade, festivities in the park, Bal National or firework display
Fanfare and mussels with chips
Feeling peckish? Then wander down to place du Jeu de Balle after 16:00 for some mussels and chips. This traditional Belgian dish will be accompanied by brass band music, majorettes and accordions.
Meanwhile, the party shows no signs of petering-out at the Royal Palace, with entertainment late into the night, from 23:00 a great musical firework display signals the end of an unforgettable day that you’ll be glad you didn’t follow on TV.
Mass and festivities - CANCELLED
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 10:00. 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.