Oh Brussels, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways.
Today, we celebrate love in all its many glorious forms, including our devotion to the city we call home. And when it comes to love, it is best to say what we mean and mean what we say. Here are some things we can do to prove our sincerity each time we say, We Love Brussels.
1. Observe cleanliness in public places.
How you choose to maintain your private residence is your business. But once you step out and into the public places of Brussels, remember that you are in shared territory. Let’s keep our community clean and orderly. There is never a shortage of garbage cans around the city. Let’s put trash where it belongs. Not on the streets, by the sidewalks, or anywhere in the park.
If you often walk your dog, always clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly. If you’re a smoker, make it a habit to throw your cigarette butts in the dustbin instead of tossing them onto the roadside or just anywhere. So what if you see cigarette butts strewn all over the ground? It’s not an excuse to be sloppy. Be one less annoying smoker and join the club of responsible nicotine addicts in Brussels.
For regular joggers, one habit worth taking up is “plogging” or picking up plastic litter while jogging. This new fitness trend from Sweden allows you to stay in shape while doing the environment a great service.
Nouveau concept en Suède: le "plogging", ou comment faire du jogging en ramassant les déchets #12h45RTS
Publié par RTSinfo sur mercredi 24 Janvier 2018
2. Stay up-to-speed on what’s happening in and around Brussels.
Watch the news, read the papers. If you’re often online, there are several news sites catering to Brussels’ international community. Aside from your Brussels Express family, you can also visit We Love Brussels, Expats in Brussels, Expatica, and many more. Be interested, get curious, and care about what’s going on in your city. Awareness can open the door to more involvement and action.
3. Exercise your constitutional right to vote.
If you love Brussels, then you would want it run only by people who have the best intentions and programs for the city. Fortunately, non-Belgians are allowed to vote in the communal elections taking place this year on October 14. But unfortunately, many vital policies in Brussels are decided above the communal level and by the city’s regional government. Want to have more say in the capital? You can join the 1Bru1Vote Campaign, and sign the petition to allow non-Belgians to vote in the regional elections.
Voting is not compulsory for expats in Belgium. But caring for the city means wanting only the best for it. And the best doesn’t just happen miraculously. It is carried out by those we elect into power, and most of all, by all of us living in the city.
4. If you have spare time, why not share it with those in need?
Brussels offers many opportunities for us to release the better angels in ourselves. You can lend a hand and bring some joy to the homeless, the refugees, the elderly, or the adorable furry creatures in a pet shelter.
You can find more ways to get involved through Serve the City, a global movement of volunteers founded in Brussels in 2005. The group organizes volunteer activities in homeless shelters, refugee centers, orphanages, and other charitable associations in the city.
Volunteers are also welcome in the preparations for the communal elections this year. The Migration Policy Group is looking for extra help in assisting EU citizens in the registration process.
5. Take alternative modes of transportation.
Ditch the car and travel around the city by bus, tram, or train. Shared transport systems are another sustainable alternative. There is a growing number of innovative vehicle-sharing services available in Brussels. Some of the top choices are DriveNow, Cambio, Zen Car, Zipcar, and Taxistop.
Brussels is our adoptive city. Let’s return the love and take good care of her by reducing air pollution, protecting the environment, and minimizing threats to public health.
6. Be kind and considerate in using public space.
You know how annoying it can be when people block your way down a busy sidewalk. Or when somebody suddenly stops in front of you in a crowded supermarket or grocery store. Or when another driver on the road swerves into your lane. But sometimes, we could be the rude ones.
Public space is not meant to be hogged but to be shared. Let’s make room for each other, and respect personal space even in public places. We are not the only ones in a hurry to get to work or someplace. Let’s not add to each other’s stress. We have enough already. Let’s make our city a more friendly, hassle-free place for one another.
7. Make a regular date with Brussels.
Once a week or even just once a month, explore a new or different feature of Brussels. Consider it a date with your beloved city. Instead of visiting the same old places with your family or friends, venture into the unknown and the unfamiliar. It could be a newly-built museum, a park in the neighbouring commune, or a restaurant off the beaten track. You can also check out an event, an exhibit, or a festival.
Brussels has a lot of fun and surprises hiding behind its drab curtains. Uncover them one by one, and get to know the city bit by bit. Never tire of discovering and rediscovering the best and even the worst of our dear Brussels.
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