On 10 December 2017, representatives of 11 of Berlin’s retail brands and concepts will arrive at Brussels Airport. Over two days they will get a taste of the districts of Brussels through personalised retail tours and flavoured beers and chocolates. Behind this VIP city trip is Taste.Brussels, an international promotional campaign being carried out jointly by Brussels Invest&Export and Atrium.Brussels.

And the purpose of Taste.Brussels? To show what Brussels has to offer foreign retailers by allowing them to glimpse — and sample — the very essence of the city. Because Brussels is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to stumble across. Louise and its luxury boutiques, Dansaert and its milliners, Sainte-Catherine and its delicatessens, the Grand-Place and its secret passageways… But it’s hard to unravel all the city’s mysteries if you haven’t experienced them.

With the Brussels Days event organised in Berlin in October 2017, the seduction campaign began in the German capital with one specific idea: rather than wait for Berlin brands to come to us, why not go and get them?

Berlin calling

Which is or are your favourite district/s in Berlin? Which brands in the German capital are you particularly fond of? Brussels customers have been invited to express their feelings about the range of businesses in Berlin and the concepts they would like to see established in Brussels.

Over half of the 200 respondents compared shopping in Berlin to a treasure hunt which turns up nothing but gold. They cited an independent and specialist range of products, which some considered to be varied and original. The brands referred to, 85% of them independent, bear this out.

This diversity is down to a daring approach by retailers who have found their niche in this rich patchwork of styles. Because the opportunities are there, if only they dare ferret them out! But how do you convince retailers to embark on the Brussels adventure?

What does Brussels taste like?

The real way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and the same goes for Berlin shopkeepers. So the Taste.Brussels logo has been imprinted on boxes of Belgian chocolate, made by Darcis. The nine pralines in the box were chosen in accordance with the districts selected: salted butter chocolate for the old port of Saint-Catherine, passionfruit for the exotic nature of Porte de Namur, and speculoos for Saint-Jacques and its celebrated child…

At the same time, the Atrium team has produced a painstaking list of all Berlin shops whose concept is likely to find an echo in Brussels.

Their cases holding firm this precious cargo, the team then flew to Berlin Schönefeld SXF. Two hours later, its members were pushing open the doors of the first shops to respond to their invitation to sample the wares. A meeting, an interview and a ‘date’ set for 10 October at the Belgian Embassy in Berlin, for Brussels Days!

Stickabush — Temporary Showroom — A.D Deertz

Brussels Days: Berlin keeping Brussels hours

The 12th Brussels Days event took place at the Belgian Embassy in Berlin. Atrium presented its range of services and Brussels opening opportunities to the Berlin brands that responded to its invitation: ‘We are going to make you an offer that you can’t refuse’

A personalised file was delivered to each applicant, indicating the districts that best matched their concept given their figures and the experience of Atrium coaches.

It was then time to go on to the next stage: temporary occupancy in our capital. What sort of occupancy? What budget? How long for? Our Berlin candidates will have the chance to discuss this with our coaches at leisure. Because from 10 to 12 December, these lovely people are coming to Brussels. The programme consists of: a retail tour of downtown districts, a visit to flagship stores and, most importantly, the sampling of fine Brussels food! To be continued…