Here’s an offer you might find hard to resist – buying the European Parliament and NATO’s new state-of-the-art HQ in Brussels. Both are up for grabs – at least on the new Monopoly board which has just been launched. A brand new Brussels version of the kids’ favourite features some of the city’s best-known tourist spots.
Being the self-proclaimed “capital of Europe” this naturally includes the Parliament and NATO. For those already plotting their best moves, the good news is that neither – perhaps surprisingly – are the highest priced properties on the board. That “honour” is taken by the Grand Place, including the City Hall (the most expensive property) and the Royal Palace (next highest).
The Brussels city version was launched this week at the city’s Press Club and has already found itself in the headlines. The reason was that the American corporation Hasbro insisted that that other city landmark, the famous Manneken Pis had to be “covered up” on the front of the Monopoly box.
For the uninitiated, Monsieur Pis has been attracting millions of curious sightseers for many years but strictly au naturel. Cedric Libbrecht, of Bruges-based Groep 24, which owns the rights to develop Belgian city editions of Monopoly, admits to being surprised by the demand. He told this website, “They told us that if he was naked on the box that could be seen as sexist or offensive. We were sorry to have to cover him up but we came up with what we think was a solution.”
The solution involved the little boy’s “naughty bits” being covered by a speedo-style swimsuit. The trunks are in the style of the Brussels flag – blue with a yellow Iris. Hasbro is the owner of the board game that is produced in more than 100 countries around the world and has to endorse the design of every edition.
The covering for Brussels’ mascot was, it seems, sufficient to satisfy Hasbro, the company licensed to sell the famous product which has delighted young and old alike down the generations. The Brussels version is sure to do the same. It features places like the Atomium, the city’s best known shopping street -Nieuwstraat – hotels on Avenue Louise, many of Brussels’ museums, the Botanique, concert halls and the Cathedral.
Cedric said one of the aims, in compiling this version, was to highlight the city’s multi-ethnic aspects so expect to also find the Marolles, the famous old neighbourhood overlooking the city’s law courts.
He added, “Monopoly Brussels does not only contain the famous and well known Brussels’ streets but also gives an insight in the diversity of museums and monuments in the city. The game is a sort of guide through the capital. You pass the classic must-sees but you also find less obvious places and hidden secrets in the city.
“The new chance cards and the community chest cards highlight different big events in the city. But it doesn’t stop there as even the Monopoly money in the game has been given a little Brussels’ touch.”
Similar Monopoly board games on Bruges and Mechelen have been produced and the long awaited Brussels version was launched in tandem with two other Belgian cities: Antwerp and Gent.
Monopoly Brussels is available in a bilingual edition, in French and Dutch, and even a separate English one for tourists and expats. It is on sale in up to 40 shops across the city.
For those already planning for the festive season, it makes for a cracking Christmas stocking filler.