Once located near the eponymous battlefield where French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte met its fate in 1815, the Waterloo flea market has since moved to another venue just 6 miles south from its former location. And even though this flea market is no Tongeren, it is close to Brussels, Namur, and Charleroi and well worth a look-see.
Renamed Broc’ Antik Market Belgium, the Waterloo Flea Market hasn’t lost a wee bit of its former glory. Quite the contrary in fact: From 120 vendors that used to gather every week since 1990 on an open air car park, this flea market has today grown to 500 merchants hosted on an indoor (300 exhibition spaces) and outdoor (80 to 120 exhibition spaces) area that can welcome up to 750 sellers every week! Last but not least, the organizers of Broc’ Antik Market Belgium have strengthened the vetting process of its vendors, which has helped increase the overall quality of the items sold at the flea market.
Vendors and antique dealers from Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands gather every week on the outdoor and indoor areas of a huge warehouse, where they meet thousands of buyers, some of which drive as far as from the Netherlands to attend this event.
The “new” Waterloo Flea Market – as many call it – still offers a little bit of everything from antiques and retro items, and less junk and the plain bizarre as before. It is usually much fun to wander and poke around since you never know what you will find. As it’s the case with any other flea market, it is highly recommended to get there early if you are serious about flea market shopping, as this market is very well attended.
Some people complained in the past about the fact that the Waterloo flea market had been taken over by professional antique dealers, some of which have shops in les Sablons district in Brussels – near the Place du Jeu de Balle flea market. The main consequences of this flea market “gentrification” are the ever increasing prices of antiques, and the unwillingness of many merchants to haggle even for a few euros. Hopefully Broc’ Antik Market Belgium won’t go down that road, and will continue to offer a good mix of vendors catering to different groups of shoppers.
Buyers visiting Broc’ Antik Market Belgium should keep in mind that the stronger vetting process set in place by the organizers has increased the number of authentic antiques sold at the flea market. However, like everywhere else there might always be a few less reliable dealers trying to sell some fakes. If you’re looking for authentic items, you should know what you’re doing or at least bring a friend who does.