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May 18, 2018 Destination Europe No Comments Email Email

2018 is not an ordinary year for Brussels. It’s the 60th birthdays of three major figures: the Atomium, the Smurfs and the Square. It’s a chance for to celebrate the development of the capital’s tourism offer.

In April 1958, Expo 58 (Brussels World’s Fair) opened its doors with a philosophy of maintaining peace among all nations, based on mutual respect and bringing people together. The Atomium was inaugurated for this exceptional event. The very same year, Brussels’ congress centre (SQUARE) opened in the heart of the capital and Pierre Culliford, better known as Peyo, created the Smurfs.

These events signalled the beginning of tourism in Brussels. 280 smiling young women became ambassadors of Belgium. The Centre d’Information de Bruxelles, a precursor to the Brussels Tourist Office, was created for the occasion and would provide information to tourists about this city that already hosted NATO and the European Common Market. Congresses were organised in Brussels and culture grew.

As Brussels’ tourism office and congress office, has a duty to celebrate these birthdays at the IMEX Fair in Frankfurt and remind us of the origin of these three iconic symbols.

The Smurfs are turning 60

It all began in 1958. These little blue characters, imagined by Peyo, first appeared in the Johan and Peewit series by the same author, and immediately stole the hearts of readers, who cried out for more Smurf adventures.

Several events are planned for this year of Smurf celebrations: the new, Smurfs-themed plane in Brussels Airlines’ series celebrating Belgian icons took off on its maiden voyage; a monumental new comic book mural will be unveiled on 19 June; and there will also be a Smurfy presence at the Belgian National Day festivities on21 July, the 20 km of Brussels, and the Memorial Van Damme Diamond League athletics event. The highlight of this year’s events is the
organisation of an exceptional event: the Smurf Experience.

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