What Happens When a Baby Is Born in Ghent, Belgium?

happens-baby-born-ghent-belgium Credit: Ed Norton/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

The birth of a child is an exciting time for parents, siblings, grandparents and, in the Belgian city of Ghent, the town’s entire population. Whenever a baby is born in Ghent, the streetlights in the Sint-Veerleplein city square flicker on and off to mark the occasion.

As part of an art installation titled “Ai Nati Oggi” (or “For Those Born Today”), artist Alberto Garutti partnered with the Ghent City Council to connect the square’s streetlights to the local maternity hospitals. When a newborn arrives, the parents can press a button in the hospital, which subtly announces to the world via flickering light that they’ve welcomed a new addition to their family.

The flash and subsequent dimming of the light is subtle enough to cause a double take. Visitors to the city can consult a small plaque in the square that explains the installation to those who might imagine that they’re seeing things.