Close up view of string lite decoration with golden organic balls and colorful carnival mask in the city of Sint-Truiden, Belgium.
City - Sint Truiden / Belgium

From Christmas to Carnival: lighting up Sint-Truiden in the winter months

The Belgium city of Sint-Truiden in Limburg is a popular visitor destination famed for its grand market – the second largest in Belgium! – its monuments, its fruit farms and for its shopping.

When MK Illumination Belgium approached the city to discuss festive decorative lighting, it quickly became clear that Sint-Truiden wanted a way to make their city attractive as both a shopping and a visitor destination over the Christmas period. They also wanted the city to attract visitors before and after the holiday months to make sure that local businesses thrived throughout the season.

Unlike in other countries, sales aren’t allowed in the 6 weeks running up to January 3rd. This meant that in order to attract shoppers to sales earlier in the year, it was necessary to have a special feature that would bring people into the city. But what? And when the festive season was over and the gloomy, dark months of January and February loomed, how could they continue attract visitors and shoppers to the city?

MK Illumination had a solution to all their challenges: a modular approach to winter and festive lighting. The team installed elegant festive lighting at the beginning of November to coincide with the start of the pre-Christmas sales. The lighting was simple but consistent: every façade, restaurant, shop window, and terrace featured homogeneous winter lighting that twinkled invitingly at shoppers.

In early December, the festive lighting was extended further, and glorious Christmas trees and trees draped with lights appeared throughout the city and even on the ice rink! 3D light sculptures of stags and shoes were carefully placed in the city, hanging motifs illuminated streets with good wishes, and bright white lights sparkled on the façades of buildings and local landmarks.

“We were able to integrate the Christmas lighting with local community fundraising and awareness campaigns so that the residents of Sint-Truiden could share their happiness and pass on some of their festive spirit. For us, festive lighting isn’t just about brightening up the city: it’s about delivering comfort, creating community and infusing the city with the right atmosphere,” said Johan Boyen of MK Illumination Belgium.

In early January, the Christmas lighting was slowly removed to make way for lighting displays for another festivity: carnival.

In this manner, Sint-Truiden was able to make their lighting attract visitors for several months, adding buzz and bustle to the city and giving the local economy a boost over the winter months.

Visitors loved the atmosphere that the lighting created through the winter months and were able to return multiple times to see the different displays, and bathe in the warm glow of the lights as they shopped, relaxed and simply enjoyed the city.

Each change of the lighting displays was a cause for celebration, resulting in many repeat visits from locals and tourists alike.

MK Illumination has been providing festive decorative lighting and creative ideas to help Sint-Truiden achieve their goals since 2000, and in 2017, they won the contract to continue filling the city with a festive atmosphere in the future.

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