The Daily Telegraph

Bad news for anyone planning on heading off to Belgium in time for the Christmas markets and ice sculpture festival in Bruges this year – the festival itself has been sadly cancelled amid fears that the cooling systems required for all that ice use up too much energy.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the Belgian city made the – no doubt very difficult – decision to cancel the event, which has been going strong for the last 18 years, to help reduce carbon emissions, with a new plastic ice rink also to replace the old one because it uses less energy.
Said ice rink has also been moved from the city’s Unesco World Heritage square and will be situated on a pontoon on the Minnewater.
The decision was perhaps not particularly well received, with the organiser of the ice sculpture festival Alexander Deman telling the Het Nieuwsblad newspaper that the event was the most popular one in Belgium last year, with up to 200,000 visitors attracted. And because of modern technology and solar panels, the energy bill came to just £7,100 for two months.
“Last year, we retained €100,000 in profits from the ice rink, which attracted more than 20,000 skaters. The entire functioning of our commercial area is based on that. What other concept will attract the same number of people and create the same ambiance?” he went on to say.
Of course, there’s plenty to be seen and done in Bruges over Christmas, so don’t worry too much about the festival cancellation. Check out TimeOut for a few ideas – what about seeing the Basilica of the Holy Blood, a church that houses a small phial that’s said to contain a cloth with the blood of Jesus Christ on it.
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