A sauna will be available in the Centre Culturel Jacques Franck this Thursday and Friday. A good opportunity to relax before the weekend.
As you know, spending time in a sauna is a tradition in the Nordic countries, especially in Finland. Many people in whole Europe enjoy as well this activity, but they often do not have access to an affordable place in their neighbourhood.
If you are then looking for a sauna to have fun sometimes, good point! A new sauna might open in Brussels soon, and might be close to your place. As summer can be quite rainy and cold in Belgium, you should have a look at the launching event that will be held in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.
Anna Omena has been working on a public sauna project in Brussels for about one year, after she participated in the Déclic Tour 2016, run by Déclic en Perspectives. Brussels Express met with the organisation’s founders in April, which aims to support young entrepreneurs who want to build a project involved in the social economy. Since its launch, some projects have already emerged, such as Demain en main.
“I initially had the idea to be involved in the social entrepreneurship and to build up a project that was in line with my values: ecology, solidarity and well-being”, explained Anna. While she was walking in the Sonian forest with a friend, they started dreaming about a sauna by the pond (if the pond was swimmable) and then she thought she should actually build her own sauna in an eco-friendly and social way. “As a French-Finnish citizen, sauna is fully part of my life. After I taking part in the Déclic Tour, I really started believing in the project even if it was ambitious”, she added.
How would it work? Her idea is to run an eco-friendly and enjoyable sauna in Brussels near to its users. A sauna however requires lots of energy and it could be hard to achieve a very sustainable project. “I would like to work with renewable energy, which is quite a big deal if you live in a city. I first thought about using wood, but it also induces pollution. I am therefore working on a project to work with electric power and this is why I try to find a well-ranked company or cooperative involved in eco-friendly energy”, she continued. “It is not only about energy, it is indeed also about isolation, water use and storage. You need to take many aspects into account if you aim to make your footprint as low as possible”, she added. The sauna that will be set up on Thursday and Friday will work with wood, but if the experience is successful, Anna could work on a dossier to be supported by the Brussels public authorities and then to work with eco-friendly energy and elements.
On the social aspect, Anna has plans on a long-term perspective. She indeed would like to build a sauna in a fixed place and to involve the citizens in the neighbourhood. “I would like to involve both the users and the people who work on the project. I also aim to create a community around the sauna as well as a participative process for the decision making in the community”, she concluded.
The launch event will then take place this Thursday at Centre culturel Jacques Franck in Saint-Gilles, from 5.00 to 9.30 pm. Other surprises are waiting for you from 9:30 to 11:30 pm. If you pop down there, you will also have the opportunity to taste Finnish smoked salmon served with a potato salad. As the Finnish sauna users are also used to swimming in frozen lakes once out, a pool will be installed (the Belgian way!).
The sauna will stay there for two days. As Anna aims at making this project a reality as well as experiencing it before applying for public support, she is working on other events by the end of the year.
For this first event, the price is based on a voluntary basis. You also can rent some towels there in case you forget to take one from home.
If you are interested in this event, you will find all the information here.