To celebrate Europe Day on 9 May our Mayors Bart Somers of Mechelen and François Decoster of Saint-Omer organized events to bring Europe closer to their citizens

In Mechelen, people joined our President and Mayor Bart Somers at a gathering around the statue of Ludwig Van Beethoven to listen to the “Ode to joy”, the official anthem of the European Union since 1985. This anthem expresses the European ideals of freedom, peace and solidarity. Composer Ludwig van Beethoven’s grandfather, Lodewijk Van Beethoven, was born in Mechelen and lived there until he moved to Germany. Since Van Beethoven’s roots trace back to Mechelen, both men are honoured with a statue in the city.

In Saint-Omer, our second Vice-President and Mayor François Decoster invited European officials to introduce their work to citizens who don’t always have the opportunity to talk to people working for the EU institutions. They discussed how their jobs and daily duties contributed to the lives of citizens across Europe by visiting schools, a retirement home, local companies and a home for young refugees.