The Skatepark in the Shadows of the European Parliament
Translation by:Gilhean Slater
In Brussels, not too far from the European Parliament, lies a vast, open, blue painted space which overlooks the Bruxelles-Chapelle station. It is here where many young locals come to skateboard...
Sablon is an affluent area in the very heart of Brussels. Here you can wander the streets and see yourself reflected in the pristine windows of the many luxurious Belgian chocolate shops. If you continue strolling a bit further you will also come across a skate park. The skate park is on rue des Ursulines, in between the church and the school which the street is named after. Here, on any day of the week and at any time of day you can find not only skateboarders but anyone who has a passion for wheels in some shape or form. I come across Sergio and quickly realise I am in the perfect place to take some pictures. As soon as he sees the camera, Sergio smiles at me and comes over to introduce himself. He has a lot of stories to share.
The show has begun and the public are watching
The skaters of Rue des Ursulines
There are always risks, especially hand injuries
Ready to go on the launching ramp
"THIS YEAR WE DON'T SKATE, WE SURF THE WAVES!"
Sergio tells me how the skate park often changes its appearance. Every year the guys who run the park ask a different artist to paint the ramps, leaving them to choose how to give character to the space. Last September the task fell to the writer Caroline Brunotte who decided to cover the cement with white and blue waves. According to the young skateboarder her work is the best to date; "this year we don’t skate, we surf the waves!" Going from one move to the next he shows off his acrobatic skills, sometimes he falls, hurts himself, he gets back up, starts again. He shows me the scars on his ankles and hands, he looks at the photos I have taken of him. He tells me he isn’t happy with any of them, he wants to do his flip again, wants his technique to look better. The skate park has slowly filled in the meantime with all different types of people.
A well deserved moment of rest
Romantic passion on the ramps
Scratches are a mark of experience
the perfect flip
Sergio sits down to have a rest. He tells me that in springtime the older ones who come here organise lessons for the younger kids. He learned to skateboard here. I take some more snaps. Sergio cranes his neck to watch his friends. He smiles. He goes to school just around the corner and at the end of lessons he always comes straight here. When he falls off his skateboard he gets straight back on. This time he has it, his right foot gives just enough thrust and his technique is spot on. I wave to him and snap away, he smiles and climbs the ramp once more. I shout up to him telling him that his flip was just perfect.
Someone manages to read amidst all the action
A free day of entertainment for many
A quick and well-deserved break
Last minute adjustments, everything needs to be perfect
THIS ARTICLE IS PART OF A SPECIAL SERIES DEdicated TO Brussels. IT'S PART OF EUTOPIA: TIME TO VOTE, A PROJECT RUN BY CAFÉBABEL IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE HIPPOCRÈNE FOUNDATION, THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION, THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND THE EVENS FOUNDATION.
Translated from Lo Skatepark all’ombra del Parlamento Europeo