As spring approaches, Flanders relaxes rules on open-air swimming

Rules around outdoor swimming in Flanders will be relaxed in time for the spring and summer. The announcement of the change was initially made in a press conference in May but was confirmed and laid down in a decree by the Flemish government on Friday.

The text removes several conditions for recognition as a swimming area, including the obligation to provide showers, sanitary facilities, shower cabins and fire extinguishers. The criteria for the floor of the body of water, such as a sandy surface and a maximum gradient, have also been revised. The legislation also introduced a new category of bathing water: the free-swimming zone, allowing local authorities to work to provide additional sites.

A water quality test, authorisation from the owner or manager and a risk assessment, which the department of Health must approve, must be provided when applying to open a new swimming zone. By the end of March, there will be helpdesk where local governments can register their sites.

While the Netherlands has complete deregulation over swimming areas, that is not an option in Belgium, says Flemish Environment Minister Zuhal Demir, of Flemish nationalists N-VA. "The number of drownings in the Netherlands is higher per million inhabitants,” she said. “For the sake of safety and water quality, the Flemish government believes that complete deregulation is a step too far.”


#FlandersNewsService | © AGE FOTOSTOCK

Related news

Website preview
Swimmers take the plunge to call for cleaner waterways
Thousands of people dived into rivers, lakes and canals on Sunday as part of an international campaign for cleaner waterways.

Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels