In the Brussels landscape Britain remains, Océade bids farewell

The UK may be leaving the EU but that does not mean everything that is British will leave Europe.

MiniEurope in Brussels is one of the city’s foremost visitor attractions and has a huge collection of miniature models of some of Europe’s best-known sights.

Its owners have now decided to keep hold of its famous British landmarks even after the UK quits the EU at the end of March 2019.

It means the many people who flock to MiniEurope each year will still be able to enjoy iconic attractions like Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye.

Owner Thierry Meeus explained the decision to keep the British models, saying, “We will just put a customs fence up with a board alongside saying that the UK is leaving the EU.”

Despite the outcome of the EU Referendum in 2016, Thierry is one of the many who still hopes Britain will actually stay in the EU.

At first, he feared that the success of the Leave campaign would inevitably result in him having to put away all his British models at MiniEurope.

But, not least considering the cost of the renovation of the site last year, that wasn’t something he wanted to contemplate, hence the decision to, “keep the Brits on site.”

Photo by Luca Micheli on Unsplash


However, while the UK models have been given an unlikely reprieve the same cannot be said for MiniEurope’s near neighbour – Océade.

This has been one of Brussels’ top visitor attractions for many a year but the curtain is about to close on the venue. It is in its final season and is having to close in September to make room for a huge new commercial project.

Its demise comes as a huge disappointment to scores of people not least because Océade is said to be the only important recreational activity in Brussels.

The facts speak for themselves: it is the third best attended attraction in Brussels in terms of revenue (behind only the Atomium and Mini-Europe and ahead of all the city’s many museums).

A source at Oceade told this website: “We try to give a great time to our visitors with a good selection of slides (it is ranked number one in Belgium for its wave pool), jacuzzi and also a sauna (renewed in 2016).”

Océade is number one in Belgium in terms of slides (length, capacity, diversity) and its limit on the maximum capacity is at a lower level than other parks which can often get very packed very quickly. As the source says, “this is to ensure that there is always a minimum comfort). Of course, it is better to come when there are 500 people in the park than when there 1,000.”

It is easy also to forget the impact Océade has had on Brussels.

For example, in any one year it welcomes some 250,000 visitors (usually made up of about 100,000 inhabitants from Brussels, the same number for other Belgian towns/cities and 50,000 foreigners (that is, tourists visiting Brussels).