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Exploring another side of Brussels: The Iris Festival in the communes

Exploring another side of Brussels: The Iris Festival in the communes

On 5 and 6 May, the Iris Festival (Fête de l’Iris) will be celebrating the 29th anniversary of the Brussels-Capital Region. As is the case every year, all sorts of unusual, free activities will be put on for young and old alike for the event. These include the “Fête de l’Iris dans les communes” (Iris Festival in the communes), which will give visitors and locals the chance to explore some of the more unusual and surprising parts of 4 of the Region’s communes. On Saturday 5 May, the communes showcased will be Uccle, Ixelles, Auderghem and Watermael-Boitsfort.

The event will be showcasing a number of communes, grouped together geographically. Lots of places that are kept secret or normally closed to the public in Uccle, Ixelles, Auderghem and Watermael-Boitsfort will be offering guided tours, most of which are free, on Saturday 5 May: gardens, painters’ studios, mosques, museums, cemeteries… A fantastic opportunity to venture off the beaten track and find out more about the treasures to be found in these communes.

A number of activities that visitors will be free to take part in, as well as guided tours, will be put on throughout the day on Saturday.


To the south-east of the City of Brussels, Auderghem is a commune that has been particularly blessed by its environment. Despite the major roads that run through it (Boulevard du Souverain, Chaussée de Wavre, Viaduc Herrmann-Debroux), the look of Auderghem may have changed, but it has managed to maintain its “village” feel so popular with its residents. The spacious areas studded with detached houses on the edge of the forest alternate with older, more modest neighbourhoods that are currently undergoing extensive regeneration. Its past and its present are packed with historic, cultural and artistic events. The Woluwe Valley, as well as the beautiful, comforting Forest of Soignes alongside it, make this an exceptional location in the Brussels Region.


Located to the south of Brussels, Uccle is one of the largest communes in Greater Brussels. It is also the fourth largest commune in terms of its population. On the edge of the Forest of Soignes, a third of Uccle is made up of green spaces, including: the Parc de Wolvendael, the Parc de la Sauvagère and the Parc du Chat. It offers its residents a wonderful living environment. But Uccle is much more popular than its reputation as a prosperous commune might suggest. Some of its highlights include the Quartier du Chat, which resembles Marollen, the Chapel of Stalle, the last witness of Uccle’s ancient fiefdom, the Observatory, familiar to all Belgians, and the Quartier du Parvis Saint-Pierre, renowned for its church, its organic market and its cultural events.


Ixelles is a trendy, cosmopolitan commune that boasts some remarkable historic and architectural heritage. Neo-classical, Art Nouveau, Art Déco and Modernist styles happily live side by side here. Made up of different neighbourhoods with their own strong identities, Ixelles is incredibly diverse: the vibrancy of the shops on the Avenue de la Toison d’Or, the African atmosphere of Matongé, the European institutions, the restaurants and the terraces of the Quartier Saint-Boniface, as well as cemeteries of Ixelles and Le Châtelain. The gardens of La Cambre Abbey, the Ponds and Tenbosch Park, for their part, offer a particularly delightful breath of fresh air.


Watermael-Boitsfort is a haven of piece characterised by the Forest of Soignes, its many parks, friendly neighbourhoods and a whole host of artists (Rik Wouters, Paul Delvaux, Hergé and Franquin, as well as Anne Herbauts, Sabine De Greef and Kiki Crèvecoeur plus many more). Watermael-Boitsfort is a lush green commune: more than half of its territory is covered by the Forest of Soignes and there are many other green spaces, such as its garden cities, Le Logis and Floréal. The focus will be on the artists, architectural heritage, nature and wellbeing in the commune.