The Belgian town of Sint-Truiden has moved its annual festive ice rink into the soaring nave of its disused 18th-century baroque church to beat the temperamental Belgian weather.
Normally outdoors, the rink is now accompanied by a moving, colourful starry night projected on the ceiling while Christmas songs echo throughout the building and people skate next to the nativity scene.
"It’s more about Christmas. Christmas is about the church and Jesus. Here that’s the case, but less so outside", 12-year-old ice skater Ella-June Briers said, referring to the annual Christmas market that takes place outside.
Philip Bronckaerts, chairman of the Sint-Truiden trade association that organised the church ice rink, the first of its kind in Belgium, said it's a win-win concept.
"It’s very ecological to use this ice rink because it’s CO2-neutral, we’re not using any water or electricity. (And) we give the church a service to the community. The church is not in use anymore for church services, but the community can enjoy it.”
The ice rink is part of Sint-Truidens' annual Christmas market which runs until January 7.