How it all started

On The 15th of March 2018 we wrote this letter to the Mayor and city Aldermen of Brussels.

Brussels’ nightlife seems to be slowing down: closure of a few iconic venues, relationship with authorities (administration, police, firemen), social problems, safety, mobility, public works, new urban developments, etc. All these haven’t been helpful for the development of a healthy nightlife environment and it has a degrading impact on the social, associative and cultural dynamics within the city.

In a society more and more polarised, spaces for recreation and nightlife are, together with the cultural centres or public spaces, the only places for the encounter of diversity, for creativity, emancipation and freedom. A healthy nightlife environment is the symbol of a healthy community. It has a crucial influence on the cultural scene, on economic and touristic attractiveness, on urban dynamics, and many jobs (very often first jobs) depend on it.

But nightlife doesn’t only affect the people who party and it’s not only a festive event. Along with that, the city has its residents, has housands of people working the nightshift. It also brings hardcore social issues (such as homelessness, safety, drugs …) or urban planning problematics like gentrification and mobility.

All of the stated above points out one fact: Brussels is not organised well enough for the night. We don’t know the night: no research done or studies or statistics available that could help us understand the challenges at stake. The city’s organisation is based on the ‘daylife’ where a large part of the people use it 24/7.

A new balance is necessary. Based on what’s mentioned earlier, we’re proud to launch the “24hBrussels” platform in order to establish a positive dialogue between all the actors of the night, to reach a more beneficial environment that guarantees a qualitative nightlifescene.

The goals of the 24hBrussels-platform are:
-to create a meeting point for all the actors from the nightlife sector in the city centre
-to collectively establish a diagnostic of the current situation and open a dialogue about it
-to come up with possible solutions and to discuss them
-to write a manifest of ‘responsible partying’ that restores the confidence between the organisers, the public authorities and the residents and which can lead to the opening of new venues
-to promote nightlife activities within the city centre

With a certain nostalgic feeling we repeat the phrase by Jacques Brel: “c’était au temps où Bruxelles bruxellait/back then Brussels was still a lively city”. But we never really knew to which “lively” period he wanted to refer to: the ballrooms in the 19th century? The “dancings” between the world wars? The golden era of the eighties with the belgian electroscene?

In reality, Brussels has always been a lively city. From generation to generation nightlife venues have contributed to the city’s cultural history, welcoming its artists, intellectuals, dissidents, outsiders, policymakers or visitors, regardless of their origins and backgrounds. In order to let Brussels maintain its vibrance we are convinced it is necessary to redefine the contours of its nightlife. This is the challenge we want to take together with you.

Long live Brussels !
Long live the nightlife !

signed by : ASBL Congres / Café Central / Bonnefooi / Beursschouwburg / Kumiko / C12 / Deep In House / Brüxsel Jardin / Los Ninos / Gay Haze …

It took us another 2 years to formalise 24hBrussels into an association. But in the meantime we organised and participated in a lot of events concerning the Brussels’ nightlife.