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Brussels blooms with begonia flower carpet

 The Grand-Place in Brussels is in full bloom as the bi-annual flower carpet has been unfurled in the city. The first Grand-Place flower carpet was made in 1971 to celebrate Belgium's begonia flower.

 This year's carpet is the 19th to be laid at the Grand-Place and it celebrates the 50th anniversary of Turkish immigration to Belgium.
 The carpet's 1800 square-metres of begonias make up a tapestry that is inspired by the patterns of Turkey's famous kilims.
 The flowers in the carpet are tightly packed, with 300 begonias in every square metre and a total of around 750,000 flowers used.
 Planning for the carpet starts a year in advance as the colour combinations and the number of flowers required are calculated
 Every year Belgium produces in the region of 60 million begonias, and 80% of these are exported
 Once the flowers are ready, 100 gardeners put the carpet together in around four hours.
 Begonias have a long flowering period, a broad range of colours and a variety of shapes, making it the ideal flower for this kind of display.
 The flower provides colour from early July right up until the first frost.
 The mayor of Brussels said: 'The flower carpet that is unfurled every other year on the Grand-Place of Brussels always fills me with great emotion.'
 The mayor added: 'Because of its colour and the extraordinary design of the original carpet that is its basis, of course, but also and especially because of the renown of this work throughout the world.'
 The first flower carpet in the Grand-Place was created by landscape architect E. Stautemas in 1971.
 Stautemas had a passion for begonias and began creating small flower carpets in various towns in the Flanders region.
 His fame spread and soon his designs appeared in Vienna, Paris, London, Amsterdam as well as Buenos Aires and Columbus, Ohio.
 Although he did flower carpets around the world, Stautemas had a particular passion for the bi-annual Grand-Place carpet
 Stautemas said: 'Nowhere is the carpet more beautiful and distinguished than in the unique, ancient surroundings of the Grand-Place in Brussels.'
 Previous themes for the flower carpet have included Mozart, art nouveau and the middle-ages.
 This year's design celebrated the 50th anniversary of Turkish immigration in Belgium
 In July 1964, Belgium and Turkey signed the bilateral convention, which led to Turkish immigration in Belgium.
 That agreement saw Turkish workers arrive in Belgium.
 Now more than 220,000 Turkish-born individuals live in Belgium and the migration from Turkey continues
 Visitors to the Grand-Place can enjoy a view of the carpet from the balcony of the City Hall.
 Visitors can also enjoy a concert every night that accompanies a sound and light show.
 The official opening of the flower carpet took place on Thursday.
 The flower carpet will be on display in the Grand-Place until August 17.

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