Expensive energy cuts short free visits to Belgium’s ‘Garden of Santa Claus’

LA BRUYERE, Belgium — The Belgian “Garden of Santa Claus,” which every year offers a free visit to Santa’s office, bedroom, train and sleigh, will be open only 23 days this year instead of the usual 34 days because of a surge in energy prices, its organizer said.

The work of a Belgian aeronautical engineer, Serge Hennebel, 54, the “Garden of Santa Claus” is a seasonal entertainment venue located in a small village of La Bruyere, in central Belgium, 38 km (24 miles) south-east of Brussels.

Lit by more than 52,800 lights, it attracts visitors from across the world who can enjoy a walk in the village, crossing the path of a giant snowman and taking souvenir photos next to Santa’s sleigh and Santa’s Train.

Energy prices in the euro zone were 35% higher in November than 12 months earlier, boosting the costs of powering the venue and forcing the earlier closure, Mr. Hennebel said. — Reuters