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Taskforce created to clean up Mont des Arts

10:43 22/11/2023

Pressure is mounting to change the less than pristine look of one of Brussels’ most iconic sites – the Mont des Arts.

From Alexander Calder’s arresting Whirling Ear sculpture fountain, made for Brussels Expo 58, to the steps going down to a beautiful park and esplanade with trees, the area surrounded by prestigious museums such as the Magritte Museum, Coudenberg Palace, Museum of Musical Instruments and the Royal Library is a must-see on every tourist’s Brussels to-do list.

But for people who live or work in the neighbourhood, the growing litter problem on the Mont des Arts is spoiling the city’s international image. Cigarette butts, cans, waste paper and even urine is the reality of the place where tourists flock to take selfies every day.

In 2022, some 13 tonnes of waste was collected from the area. The excess litter and dirt is exacerbated by the complex management of the site.

Its cleaning depends on no fewer than four main players: regional government bodies Bruxelles Propreté and Bruxelles Environnement, the City of Brussels and the management of the Square conference centre – whose impressive glass structure dominates the centre of the esplanade.

Things may be changing for the better, however. Brussels minister of cleanliness Alain Maron (Ecolo) has created a task force to bring these parties together.

The move has been welcomed by Bruxelles Environnement’s Sara Cruz: “Finally we realised that we were complementary. Everyone was able to share their knowledge and their strengths.”

Brussels MP Aurélie Czekalski (MR), also applauding the joint action, demanded more fines: “On the one hand, putting more people on site who can punish culprits and, on the other, installing video surveillance cameras, could dissuade some people from destroying and spoiling this area.”

Graffiti and tags have also been a huge problem of the area. But now the tags covering the walls of adjacent buildings have disappeared. The Brussels-City buildings department has been instructed to clean them up as quickly as possible.

Written by Liz Newmark