Making a Splash with EXPEDITION SWIM
Thanks to POOL IS COOL, an open platform of Belgian citizens and experts, people will be able to enjoy and jump into three of Brussels’ many ponds for the first time in decades.
With over 300 open bodies of water in the area of Brussels, it’s hard to imagine that not one of them is in use as a public, open-air pool. Calling for the creation of such a space — the team behind POOL IS COOL came together in 2014 to revive public outdoor swimming with actions in public space, temporary projects to experience the pleasures of swimming outdoors, research, and public debates on ambitions and proposals for outdoor swimming in Brussels. Believing strongly in the positive contribution of outdoor swimming to the living quality of the beloved European capital, the platform has initiated a series of events, or tests, this year with “Expedition Swim” — an event which comprises of three separate moments to test the swimming capabilities in three popular ponds in Brussels: the Neerpede pond in Anderlecht, the pond of the Bois de la Cambre and the Pêcheries Royales pond in Watermael-Boitsfort. The objective of this test phase is to evaluate if it’s possible to swim in these ponds and to estimate the potential impact of swimmers in the ponds on the surrounding landscape and local residents.
Because these events are used as a test to further POOL IS COOL’s cause and research, there are a number of limits that each of the events must follow — this is all in part to ensure that all participants are safe and run little to no risk of getting hurt during the event. First, even though the events are free of charge for everybody, the number of swimmers allowed in will be limited (sadly, it has already been sold out). Next, EXPEDITION SWIM will allow participants to take a swim on two afternoons in a limited swimming zone of 25 x 25 m, and to ensure everyone’s health and safety, the water quality of the ponds will be monitored regularly by Bruxelles Environment. Swimming will only be allowed when the water quality meets the official standards. The water quality is just one aspect of safe swimming. Before EXPÉDITION SWIM the swimming zones of the different ponds will be examined by divers to make sure that there are no objects under the water that pose a risk. During the swimming moments, the participants will be surveilled by lifeguards and a first-aid-service will be present at all times. Feedback by participants and the evaluation of the test moments will allow POOL IS COOL to collect information that will help develop and discuss a future where there are outdoor swimming opportunities in Brussels.
All in all, EXPEDITION SWIM is a unique, (for now) one-time event that allows the citizens of Brussels (and those from beyond city limits if they’d like to join) to enjoy the waters of their city in a new and refreshing way. Join and, who knows, you will have helped make these activities become a norm within the city.
Étang de La Pede: July 19 and 20, 2019
Bois de La Cambre: July 27 and 28, 2019
Pêcheries Royales: August 3 and 4, 2019.
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EXPEDITION SWIM is possible thanks to the support of the Minister for Environment, Bruxelles Environnement, the City of Brussels and the communes of Anderlecht and Watermael-Boitsfort