Five weeks of EXPEDITION SWIM and even more than a year of preparations are behind us. First of all we want to thank Bruxelles Environnement to start and develop this adventure with us. EXPEDITION SWIM was conceived from the beginning as a combination of research and event, testing the possibility of outdoor swimming in the existing waters of Brussels while respecting the ecological importance of the ponds. We focused the research on two main directions: firstly, is there actually an interest among the people of Brussels to swim in the ponds of the city? And secondly, are the ponds we tested already fit for swimming?
There are two things that we remember most: the huge public interest in EXPEDITION SWIM, the online inscriptions were fully booked in less than a week, and the many happy faces of those that seized the chance for a swim at the first expedition in Neerpede, Anderlecht. It was fantastic to see so many people of all kinds enjoying the water in the sun for real for the first time in more than 40 years since the closing of the last swimming pool in Brussels.
EXPEDITION 2 - 03.+04.08.2019 - Pêcheries Royales / Koninklijke Visserij.
Unfortunately, the seconed expedition had to be canceled due to the fluctuating water quality in the pond. Read more about it here. However, someone had to recuperate the swimming lines which were already placed. So Paul and Daniel of the EXPEDITION SWIM TEAM dared to take a swim.
On the other hand, the unfortunate fact that we couldn’t swim in the two other ponds that were selected for EXPEDITION SWIM also revealed that the ponds of Brussels aren’t ready yet for swimming. It’s mainly the water quality that is still too volatile. While it was good for most of the summer, it became insufficient at the very moment of two of the three expeditions. The reasons for this fluctuation of the water quality needs to be further investigated in order to consider swimming in the future.
EXPEDITION 3 - 17.+18.08.2019 - Bois de la Cambre / Ter Kamerenbos.
Also on the second alternative date we had to cancel the swimming at Bois de la Cambre due to the water quality. But since we wanted to end EXPEDITION SWIM with a positive note, we built a little sauna and had different but great aquatic fun. The pontoon and the swimming zone communicated the idea of swimming in the future.
We will now start working on an in-depth evaluation of EXPEDITION SWIM. The resulting report will be published during an event later this year and should serve as a basis for extensive discussions with the new Government of the Brussels Region, Bruxelles Environnement, the communes and of course the citizens of Brussels. What could swimming in ponds or the canal be like in the future? What role can it play next to classic open air swimming pools?
Once more, thank you to everyone who helped us to make EXPEDITION SWIM possible. To all the people working in administration and politics, at companies, institutions and services. And especially to the many volunteers who spent their time on building, running and communicating EXPEDITION SWIM throughout the weeks. It would have been impossible without you. We built up an amazing network of skilled people that we can count on for amazing projects in the future!