The Belgian city of Oudenburg was getting into the Christmas spirit, and it was ready to unveil a light display on dozens of pillars set up to look like festive lights scattered around one of its districts.
But when the contact was reversed, something else emerged: instead of candles, the 80 pillars looked more like a specific part of the male anatomy topped with blue lights, luminous bus stops, green areas, and even the surroundings of a church.
The exhibition in Oudenburg, 10 miles west of Bruges, was quickly noticed with entertainment by local residents and was then happily assembled by Belgian and international news media.
“We had the idea of installing light-shaped lights,” said Mr. Dumarey by phone Friday. “Some people see other things.” He said the screen would remain.
During the day, the nearly six-foot-tall installations looked like ordinary pillars draped with strings of light. But enlightened at night, they took a whole new aspect, which Mr Dumarey said surprised him.
“When the lights are not on, I swear you can not see it.”
With more than 15,000 deaths from Covid-19, Belgium is the country with the highest death rate per capita. Population of the world, according to a New York Times database. The country’s authorities reintroduced nationwide restrictions earlier this month, closing all non-essential stores that worked from home made mandatory and visits between households prohibited.
“I am very happy to put a smile on people’s faces and bring light into the darkness,” said Mr. Dumarey.
The lights were installed in Ettelgem, which is part of the municipality of Oudenburg, on Monday. The rest of the city has pyramids as Christmas decorations, said Mr. Dumarey, adding that residents had responded well to the new lights.
“We are unique,” wrote two Oudenburg residents, Luc and Ann-Marie Van Nieuwenhuyse, in a comment on a photo from Mr. Dumarey on Facebook, where the mayor was standing next to one of the lights. (Not the pyramid-shaped ones.)
In 2017, the Italian city of Civitanova Marche gained similar fame after dressing palm trees with Christmas lights. The dwarves Oudenburgs.
Claire Moses contributed reporting.