Société Royale de l’Ommegang/ Koninklijke Maatschappij van de Ommegang
While the tradition of the Ommegang dates back to the 14th century and has its origins in a thanksgiving procession organised by the Royal and Noble Grand Order of Crossbowmen of Our Lady of Sablon in honour of the Virgin, the pageant as we know it today is based on Charles V’s presentation of his son and heir, the future King Philip II, in 1549. The event, which is held in early July each year, involves a total of almost 1,400 participants from 38 folklore and history groups. The magnificent historical procession sets out from Parc Royal/Warandepark, where jousts are held, and parades through the streets of Brussels past the Grand Sablon/Grote Zavel to the Grand-Place/Grote Markt, where the show takes place. This multi-day retrospective is staged each year by Ommegang Brussels Events, which has an impressive infrastructure in place to ensure that everything goes smoothly. The giants, standards, weapons and costumes used for the pageant are carefully stored in workshops where expert seamstresses repair hose, bustles, farthingales, doublets and headpieces in all the colours of the rainbow, working for months on end to get every detail just right. The Société Royale de l’Ommegang/Koninklijke Maatschappij van de Ommegang even has a carriage donated by the late Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, which has been specially restored for the pageant. The vibrant spectacle – marked by the red and gold of the Order of the Golden Fleece, the gules and argent of the Royal Grand Order of Crossbowmen of St George of Brussels and many more colours besides – draws thousands of onlookers keen to witness this part of Brussels’ living heritage, which was added to the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage in December 2019.
Guided tours, Sat. & Sun. at 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00 and 17:00 (French), 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 13:30, 14:30, 15:30, 16:30 and 17:30 (Dutch). In cooperation with Itinéraires, sur les Sentiers de l’Histoire.
sign-languageGuided tours in sign language in French, Sat. at 11:00 and Sun. at 15:00. In cooperation with Arts & Culture.
Sat. & Sun., 10:00 to 18:00
Rue des Tanneurs/Huidevetterstraat 180, Brussels
Guided tours only – advance booking required