Being Nice in Brussels

Following the security scares in Belgium last year, Brussels has come up with a brilliant way to reassure potential visitors: phone a random local for reassurance.

The #CallBrussels scheme involves  phones set up across the city that can be accessed by anyone, and are generally answered by passers-by to allow outsiders to chat about the city. The lockdown is estimated to have cost Belgium €350m or .1% of its GDP.

“When the i newspaper called the phone in Molenbeek, the gritty neighbourhood where last November’s Paris attacks were said to have been plotted, it was answered by Julie, a 21 year old student. “People should come and see Brussels: it’s not at all like they say in the press,” she said. However a call to the phone in Flagey district reached a 5 year old Louis, whose observation s on life in the city mainly concerned his toy bus.”

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