PTO actively promoted Poland at Polish Heritage Days in Brussels

A great Polish picnic was held in the Cinquantanaire park in the heart of Brussels, attended by several thousand Poles in Belgium and their Belgian neighbours and friends. The Brussels’ celebrations of the "Day of Polish Communities and Poles Abroad" and the Third of May Constitution Day were part of the "Polish Heritage Days" held in many countries in the first days of May.

Polish Heritage Days in Brussels

The "Polish Day in Brussels" was organised by the Polish Embassy in Brussels and co-organised by the Help Centre Belgium, the Polish Educational Society and the Polish Institute in Brussels. The Polish Tourism Organisation was the strategic partner of the event. The organisers also received support from KGHM Polska Miedź SA, Łódzkie House, LOT Airlines and Magabel.

The Polish Tourism Organisation organised a promotional stand and a photo exhibition presenting Polish regions entitled "16 regions, 16 reasons to visit Poland".  The VIP area presented visuals from the most beautiful spots in Poland, which were part of another PTO exhibition entitled 'Beautiful Poland'.

On a vast outdoor screen set up in front of one of the symbols of Brussels - the triumphal arch erected on for the jubilee of the foundation of Belgium - spots of the Polish Tourism Organisation promoting cities, regions, national packages and cycling tourism were broadcasted. Information was also presented on aid to Ukraine and NATO’s actions, prepared by the Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Poland to NATO, posters with Generals Maczek and Sosabowski, and films on tourism in Poland, produced by the PTO.

During the picnic, 11 Polish schools from Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Leuven, Hasselt and Soignies presented their activities, like very successful interactive workshops for children prepared for this special occasion.. The Factory of Identity association and FC ORLY Sint-Niklaas football club also prepared games for the youngest. The Network PL Association held competitions to mark the 18th anniversary of Poland's accession to the EU.

The achievements of Polish soldiers in Belgium were referred to in the exhibitions and presentations by the Reconstruction Group of the First Polish Armoured Division "Antwerp" and the Warsaw Associationof the 1st Polish Armoured Division. Workshops on ecological cleaning were presented by Magabel, and the organisation "Wakacje w Belgii" (Holidays in Belgium) encouraged the integration of the Polish community through active tourism. There were also folk dance shows presented by the Rajka Folklore Group from Bełchatów and the Spotkanie Song and Dance Group.

It was also possible to sign up for the Polish Run in Brussels, which is organised for the sixth time by the East Poland House on 4 September 2022 with the involvement of the Polish Embassy and the Polish Tourist Organisation.

"It is a very hopeful feeling to be able to celebrate our joyful May holidays in such a multigenerational group. This event is for you as an expression of gratitude for your commitment, your work to cultivate Polishness, the Polish language, our culture, tradition and history. But especially, through this family picnic, we want to express our gratitude for the involvement of Poles in Belgium in helping Ukraine and Ukrainians," said Ambassador Rafał Siemianowski when opening the event. He also thanked the PTO for its contribution and involvement in the event. The official part of the picnic was attended by Ambassador Nataliia Galibarenko, Ukraine's Permanent Delegate to NATO, who thanked Poland and the Poles for supporting Ukraine.

There were also concerts during the picnic. Katerina Szepeliuk, a refugee from Kyiv, singer and bandleader, performed with the jazz band of Cezary Gadzina, a well-known Polish saxophonist living in Belgium for many years and the rock-pop group Muzyka Końca Lata from Poland, presenting their nostalgic, big-beat songs about love. However, in their announcements and repertoire, the musicians also referred to the situation in Ukraine. The musical programme concluded with a moving performance by a young Polish-Belgian singer, Aleksandra Gadzina, with a modern interpretation of a traditional Ukrainian folk song.

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