The Ommegang is a re-enactment of the medieval festival that welcomed Emperor Louis the Fifth and all of his sisters to Brussels in 1549. About 1500 performers dress up in medieval and folk costumes to parade from the Sablon Church to the Grand Place. Tickets for the show at the Grand Place are available for €30 to €60. Watching the possession along the side of the street is free.
The purpose of this show is both to educate the people of Belgium about its history and also to give visitors an overview of Belgian culture, arts, economy and history. On 2 June 1549, the main objective was to show the Emperor and his guests the grandeur and prosperity of Belgium. The noblemen and women have a view from the balconies of the Town Hall.
Organised by a local non-profit organisation, this spectacular show is held two nights at the end of June each year. Interestingly the word ‘Ommegang’ is also the name of a Belgian brewery serving Belgian-style beer in Cooperstown, New York. A similar show is held annually in June at Waterloo which re-creates the battle of Waterloo.
In 2009 the possession began at the Sablon Church on Rue de la Régence and continued along the route below towards the Grand Place.