The European Canteen is aimed at testing a different approach towards using public space and wants to gradually build a better neighbourhood together with the residents, the daily users and the actors that account for the urban planning. 'We want to give the public space in the European quarter back to the people', says Pascal Smet. 'Brussels is the capital of Europe, but unfortunately there is not much interference with the European institutions in this quarter. This a place where residents, tourists or passersby can meet and share experiences. These are small changes, but they could have a big impact on the daily life in the neighbourhood.'
'Brussels must be the capital of everyone', states Brussels Prime Minister Rudi Vervoort. 'Our current Government takes pride in prioritizing the improvement of the Brussels public spaces and is promoting their use in an attempt to give the city back to the citizens, regardless of where they come from. This project also constitutes a challenge for the European Quarter, as we think that it needs to open up more towards the Brussels population and visitors and thus realizing a more tangible connection between urban and human living space.'
During summer, the European Canteen will rotate between various squares and parks in the European Quarter. On the following spots these wooden benches are to found in groups of 9 benches each: the esplanade of the European Parliament, the Cinquantenaire, the Place Jean Rey, the Frère-Orban Square, the Leopold Park, the Square de Meeus and the Place Schuman. Every place will host alternatively a "mama canteen" consisting of a large installation of 30 tables.
The European Canteen is a joint initiative by eQuama vzw (European Quarter Area Management Association) and the design agency Talking Things, with the support of the Brussels Capital Region, the European Parliament, visit.brussels, the City of Brussels, Brussels Environment, Cofinimmo, AG Real Estate, Urbicoon, Allfin, BPI, Google, AXA Real Estate and Accoya.