As the bodies of Belgium’s bus crash dead were brought back home from Switzerland, their classmates and teachers came together in grief.
With 28 people killed, 22 of them children, the sorrow is felt beyond the two towns touched by the tragedy.
A national day of mourning was observed, complete with a minute’s silence.
Tributes were paid at the European Union institutions in Brussels. The production line at Volvo’s car plant in Ghent also ground to a halt at 11am precisely.
Across Belgium, in offices, schools and transport hubs, people stopped what they were doing to pay their respects.
With several of the dead children Dutch, flags were flown at half mast on public buildings in the Netherlands. And it has emerged that an 11-year-old boy of dual British/Belgian nationality was among those killed.