Brussels Airlines reveals Bruegel, a 6th Belgian Icon in honor of the famous Renaissance painter


After honoring Tintin in 2015, followed by Magritte, the Red Devils, Tomorrowland and the Smurfs, Brussels Airlines presents its 6th Belgian Icon, a unique aircraft inspired by Flemish painter Bruegel the Elder. The result is a grand piece of art and the most complex plane livery in the world due to the enormous level of detail.

2019 being the year of Bruegel, Brussels Airlines has chosen to pay tribute to the Flemish Master with a new Belgian Icon. For the occasion, the airline joins forces with VISITFLANDERS and BOZAR - Centre for Fine Arts, who acted as curatorial advisor and suggested two contemporary Belgian artists, Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys. The artist duo was commissioned to imagine a design for the aircraft that looks at the work of the old master from the perspective of their own artistic practice. 

Although 450 years separate them, these artists and Bruegel share similarities in the way they observe the real world, its places, people, landscapes and habits. Moreover, they have in common to inhabit a same terrain: Belgium, which, beyond being the place where they live and work also serves as a great inspiration for their artistic productions.

The result is a 37 m long Airbus A320 baptized Bruegel. The two sides of the fuselage feature an entirely different design, which took 19 days to paint by hand, as it is the most complex aircraft livery ever made, due to the very high level of detail. The aircraft was unveiled today in the presence of Christina Foerster, CEO of Brussels Airlines, Ben Weyts, Flemish Minister of Tourism, Peter De Wilde, CEO of VISITFLANDERS, Paul Dujardin, CEO of BOZAR and the artists.

“Brussels Airlines continues to be an ambassador for Belgium. This 6th iconic aircraft showcases the rich art history of Belgium and we are extremely proud of the beautiful flying piece of art we were able to create together with the support of VISITFLANDERS and with the artistic expertise of BOZAR. The Hi Belgium Pass, which is a big success since we launched it in 2017, builds further on this ambassadorship and continues to attract many tourists to our beautiful country, now also with a Flemish Masters experience.”
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Christina Foerster, CEO of Brussels Airlines


The Bruegel plane is only a part of the entire project to promote the Flemish Masters in 2019 and 2020. Brussels Airlines and VISITFLANDERS also join forces to attract tourists to Belgium with the Hi Belgium Pass: The Flemish Masters Experience. With the pass, tourists can fly from 48 European cities to Brussels, take unlimited train rides to Belgian cities and visit a wealth of cultural attractions for free, including Flemish Masters exhibitions and collections across Flanders and Brussels. Upon arrival in Brussels Airport, travelers will immediately be immersed in the Bruegel universe, thanks to the brand new skullmapping art installation at gate A40 by VISITFLANDERS.


 Flemish Masters like Pieter Bruegel still have a great international appeal. They are cultural attractions that can seduce a wide audience to travel to the cradle of so much fantastic art. Those who really want to immerse themselves in the world of Bruegel, Rubens or Van Eyck should pay a visit to Flanders."
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Ben Weyts, Flemish Minister of Tourism
“The new state-of-the-art animation brings the iconic figures from Bruegel's paintings to life in a unique way and is part of a long-term experience project at the airport. In 3 years’ time, 75 million travelers will be captivated by our Flemish Masters and by our other tourist assets such as our gastronomy and cycling. In addition, one million passengers will travel from or to Brussels Airport in the next 5 years on board of a flying Flemish Master. That is another million people who become ambassadors of our Flemish Masters and, by extension, of our tourist destination. Add to that the millions of people who will see or share images of this beautiful plane via social media."
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Many know BOZAR - Centre for Fine Arts as the cultural hotspot located in the heart of Brussels in the historic building by Victor Horta. Today, BOZAR has evolved into a true ‘House of Creation’, by stimulating contemporary creation not only in our own spaces, but also in unexpected places. As well as supporting the participation of Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys to the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, we are delighted to extend our journey with the artist duo right into the sky with the launch of this extraordinary aircraft.”
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Paul Dujardin, CEO BOZAR 

The artist duo Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys has been selected to represent Belgium at the 58th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, taking place from 10 May until 24 November. That’s why Bruegel’s first flight will set sail for Venice tomorrow, to accompany the artists to the inauguration of the Belgian Pavilion of the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, opening to the public on May 11th. The aircraft will then continue to fly across Brussels Airlines’ European and Middle-Eastern network for the next 5 years.


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About Brussels Airlines

Brussels Airlines is the home carrier of Belgium and one of the four network airlines of the Lufthansa Group. It connects the European capital from Brussels Airport with over 90 destinations, 18 of which are in Sub Saharan Africa. The company employs more than 3,400 people and operates 44 aircraft.

Brussels Airlines aims to emit 50% less CO2 by 2030 compared to 2019 and plans to be carbon neutral by 2050. The airline is participating in the Stargate Project led by Brussels Airport and is therefore part of the testing ground for sustainable aviation at its home base. In addition, the airline signed the Circular Economy agreement of the Antwerp Management School in 2021. The airline was the first to transport Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) through the CEPS-pipeline connecting Brussels Airport early 2023. By end 2024, Brussels Airlines will have welcomed five state-of-the-art Airbus A320neo allowing the airline to significantly lower its CO2- and noise-emissions on its medium-haul network.

As an ambassador of its country, Brussels Airlines brings the world to Belgium and the best of Belgium to the world, among others through collaborations with Belgian Star Chefs, Belgian culinary products and the Belgian Icons, specially painted aircraft that honour a Belgian iconic person, team or event to promote Belgian culture worldwide.

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The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance, based on a customer value proposition of global reach, worldwide recognition and seamless service. Since inception, it has offered the largest and most comprehensive airline network, with a focus on improving customer experience across the Alliance journey.

Overall, the Star Alliance network currently offers more than 17,000 daily flights to over 1,200 airports in 190 countries.

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