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Brussels gets permanent outdoor swimming pond

Brussels gets permanent outdoor swimming pond

Brussels citizens will be able to go to the park for a swim, starting in 2024

Yesterday, Brussels authorities announced that the city is getting an outdoor swimming pond. The last one closed 40 years ago and since then numerous civil groups have advocated for the re-establishment of natural outdoor swimming areas.

The project is part of the 2020 ‘Neerpede Operational Plan’ and is carried out by the Brussels environmental authorities and the commune of Anderlecht.

A pool party in the park

The idea of park areas with ponds designated for swimming is not new - many cities have similar offers. There are the ponds in Hempstead Heath park in London, numerous natural and park-like bathing areas in Berlin and Vienna has the Alte-Donau, an artificial channel on the Danube originally constructed to control the river flow.

The project focuses on redeveloping Parc de Neerpede, which already has bodies of water, the largest of which will be adapted for swimming. The depth of the pond will be increased from 1.5 metres to 3 metres in some areas.

The pond will also be a great place for swimming, as its maximum length will be 130 metres while the total surface area will be equal to 4 Olympic swimming pools. Despite the large area, access to the pond will be limited to 225 bathers at any given time.

The redevelopment should happen in 2023, while the new pond will open to the public in 2024.

The move has put an end to the year-long struggle of organisations, such as Pool is Cool, which have been advocating for an outdoor swimming pond. In 2019, the organisation opened a temporary swimming pond in Neerpede during the summer. Last year, there was an open swimming pool on one of the canal arms in Anderlecht.

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