Brussels’s Poppies

Poppies are a sign of fragility. In the village I grew up there were poppies growing on the border between the wheat fields and the countryside roads. The life of the poppy flowers was short, perhaps one or two days.

We tried to take some poppy plants and put them in our garden. They never accepted the new home and died shortly.

Over the years I naturally associated the poppies with the wheat fields and the summer. With their upbeat scarlet colour, they were strong spots in a bright yellow sea of the wheat fields.

I did not expect to see poppies in Brussels. I spotted them outside the city while driving in the countryside. I even saw yellow Californian poppies, in a corner, next to a park.

In most of the western cultures, poppies are a symbol of sleep and peace, perhaps because of their sedative properties.


In Flanders, a Belgian region, poppies are a well-known symbol, coming from a famous poem, “In Flanders Fields”, written by a Canadian. A number of Anglo-Saxon countries remember the war heroes on 11 November each year. People wear paper poppies to honour the people who died in war.

I photographed these poppies in three places in Brussels: Anderlecht, Woluwe St. Pierre and Evere.

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