Dinner Reception following European Seafood Expo 2012
The Office of Agricultural Affairs: “Exchanging views on Opportunities and Challenges of Thai Food Export to the EU”

Amazing Thai Weekend in Antwerp 2012

During 5-6 May 2012, the Royal Thai Embassy in collaboration with the City of Antwerp, Thai Honorary Consul in Antwerp, and Thaibel Association, organized the “Amazing Thai Weekend in Antwerp 2012” at the historic Groenplaats square in Antwerp. The event was a success and drew a crowd of at least 50,000 people despite the cold temperatures and heavy rain.

Ambassador Apichart Chinwanno and Mr. Philip Heylen, Vice Mayor of the City of Antwerp, delivered opening remarks during the opening ceremony.  This is the second time such an event has been organized at Groenplaats, Antwerp. The spectacular “Thai New Year Festival” or “Songkran Festival 2008” was held four years ago during 12-13 April 2008 to celebrate 140 years of relationship between Thailand and Belgium.

This year, as a token of the deep appreciation to the City and people of Antwerp for their support, the Royal Thai Embassy organized a charity tombola to raise money for Payoke, an NGO based in Antwerp that combats human trafficking.  A grand total of 2,500 € was raised which Ambassador Apichart presented to Payoke on 10 May 2012.

“Amazing Thai Weekend in Antwerp 2012” featured several aspects of Thai culture including Thai food, handicrafts, cultural performances, traditional music as well as Thai massage and “Muay Thai” or Thai kick-boxing. Groenplaats was filled with tents which were conveniently organized into zones, such as tents selling food, Thai desserts, Thai fruits and vegetables, Thai handicrafts, tour operators and charity organizations.

Miss East Flanders 2012 and Miss Belgium 2012, who had both traveled to Thailand as part of the activities of the 20 finalists of the Miss Belgium 2012 contestants, attended the event in the morning of 5 and 6 May, respectively. Despite the continuous rain on Saturday 5 May, local online newspapers reported that 35,000 people and 40,000 people attended the event on 5 and 6 May, respectively for a total of 80,000 people. This was a higher turnout from the 70,000 people who attended the event four years ago, and the shop owners were happy with the organization and results of the event.

The winners of the charity tombola were announced at the end of each day. This year’s lucky winners of the Thai Airways roundtrip ticket for the direct flight between Brussels and Bangkok were Mrs. Van Der Wel from Vaalbeek and Mrs. Elien Vershueren from Schoten.