Coronavirus: Pop-up study centre as empty Belgian attraction aids students cramming for exams

Belgian students study inside UNESCO World Heritage sites during coronavirus pandemic, May 2020.
Belgian students study inside UNESCO World Heritage sites during coronavirus pandemic, May 2020. Copyright Euronews
By Greg Lory
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A tourist hot spot in Belgium, empty amid the COVID-19 restrictions, has become a pop-up study centre, helping students cramming for exams and with nowhere quiet to revise.


It is one of Belgium's most picturesque places normally teeming with tourists. But, since the coronavirus lockdown in Belgium, some of its iconic buildings have lain empty.

The famous Belfry, an imposing tower which dates back to the 13th century, is now opening its doors to students cramming for exams.

It is the first time that the building will be used as a study hall.

"Some students don't have a quiet place to study at home because mum and dad are at home, or brothers and sisters, all due to corona measures," Mathijs Goderis, the deputy mayor of Bruges explained. 

He says that since libraries closed, many students were looking for a place to study.

The UNESCO world heritage site can admit up to 200 students. Priority is given to people who are most in need of a calm environment.

The exceptional surroundings of the pop-up study hall seem to have made an impression.

"It is indeed very beautiful, if you have a look at the roof and beyond, it is very nice to study here, but we keep on focusing on books," says 18-year-old Xander.

For some working in this former covered market, it could even improve their chances. " I study a lot better here, so I think I will succeed," says Arne, also 18.

The class of 2020 knows they are graduating at a moment of historical disruption, but at the present time hitting the books is the only thing on their minds.

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