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An open-air swimming pool in Anderlecht this summer

The swimming pool in construction by the Canal in Anderlecht.  - ©Pool Is Cool

2021.06.29 - On 1 July, the non-profit organisation Pool Is Cool will inaugurate the first season of Flow, a temporary open-air swimming pool by the Canal in Anderlecht.Entry to the pool will be free every afternoon until 31 August, but must be booked up to three days in advance to ensure safer conditions for users. Its dimensions (17 metres long by 7 metres wide) and relatively shallow depth have been designed to offer as many people as possible a chance to enjoy a dip, within the limit of 25 users at a time.

Located near the Pierre Marchant Bridge and Digue du Canal, the pool is easily accessible by metro (by Lines 1 and 5 to Saint Guidon station), bus (Petite Île stop) or bike.

As well as swimming, various cultural activities are on offer– such as Lina Lapelyte’s art installation and performance What happens with a dead fish?during the opening week – which should be extended beyond 31 August if the operation proves a success. The project’s sponsors include the Flemish and Brussels Governments, the Flemish Community Commission, Brussels Environment, Brussels Mobility,, the Port of Brussels, the municipality of Anderlecht and Quartier Biestebroeck asbl.

The non-profit organisation Pool is Cool has been campaigning for several years now to reintroduce open-air public swimming in Brussels. It says on its website that ‘Flow is intended to be a prototype for future bathing sites, proving that open-air swimming is necessary and possible in Brussels. Flow also fulfils a number of social ambitions besides being a public pool, for example by employing young people from Brussels who are keen to contribute to the project.’

The project additionally reflects a desire to make effective use of public space and strengthen social ties among local residents.

Rudi Vervoort, Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region, describes himself as ‘delighted that a temporary open-air swimming pool is among the many events that will take place this summer in Brussels and reinvigorate our Region after the long months of lockdown. This project is all the more important to me as it will take place in a fast-changing area of great social diversity.’

Benjamin Dalle, Flemish Minister for Brussels, Media and Youth, points out that ‘Shared public space gives oxygen to the people of Brussels. The importance of this project is huge: not only does it provide a high-quality and safe sports facility, but it also explicitly focuses on connecting with the neighbourhood and the residents.’

Pascal Smet, Brussels Secretary of State for Urban Development among other areas of responsibility and Member of the Board of the Flemish Community Commission (VGC) responsible for Youth and Sport, states: ‘We want to put this district on the map and give local residents and the Region’s population the chance to relax, socialise, have fun and enjoy their holidays. (...) This summer, the site will offer more than just the pleasure of swimming. It will be a key attraction for people in our city taking a staycation.’