img_606X341_1211-Christmas-Tree-Polemics-Brussels (1)(credits)



What you see above is one of the most talked about topics in Brussels and has even made it to international media. Instead of the real tree that usually adorns the city’s Grand Place during the holidays, this year the City Council decided to dabble in the modern arts and try something new.

The result is called “Xmas 3”, a 24 meter high electronic structure made mostly of steel. For 4 euros, you can even climb it and get a 360° view of the UNESCO-protected square.


(what the usual tree looks like –  credits)

As you can imagine, it wasn’t a popular decision. Since its inauguration, around 25,000 signatures have been collected in an online petition against it, and it has been a recurrent topic in the media. The reasons that lead to the decision of doing away with the tradition tree vary. While the official stand is that it’s a way to show-case the city’s “avant-garde character”, others believe it’s a politically correct choice, so as not to offend non-Christians, especially Muslims. This sparkled a lot of debate about larger social issues.

Whatever the reasons, no one is indifferent to it. I’ve heard it called “The Scaffolding” and “The Pharmacy” because when green the glowing cubes look like the popular green cross.

What say you?

A video of the daily light show around the tree (it’s quite a sight…)