Postcard from... Brussels


Click to follow
The Independent Online


Inspired by the man-made Palm Islands which reach into the azure seas off the coast of Dubai, the mayor of Belgium’s upmarket coastal town of Knokke has proposed creating a flashy resort with hotel and golf course on an artificial doughnut-shaped land mass in the North Sea.

While the flat landscapes and low grey clouds of the Flemish coastline are a far-cry from the sunny skies and white sands of Dubai, Mayor Leopold Lippens thinks the construction of hotels, a marina and other sporting facilities out at sea linked to the mainland by a bridge will be a “win win” situation for everyone, Le Soir newspaper reported.

Proposals to create an island a few miles off the Belgian coast were first floated by Belgium’s North Sea minister, Johan Vande Lanotte, earlier this year. Its main purpose would be to harness the power of the sea and wind to provide another source of renewable energy. Reports in the Belgian media suggested Mayor Lippens was not keen on his municipality hosting the potential eyesore without getting something in return, hence his suggestion to create a Dubai-style man-made resort on the island. There were also concerns about who would pay for it.

A spokesperson for Mr Vande Lanotte said the mayor’s suggestions would be taken on board, but there were no plans at present for floating resort. “We welcome any creative and enthusiastic ideas concerning the island,” he was quoted as saying by Flanders News. “However, at the moment there are no plans for a bridge to the island or  hotels on the south shore.”