Jubilee Park in Brussels

Friday, 15 March 2019 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Museums, Exhibitions
Reading Time:  6 minutes

© Marc Ryckaert/cc-by-3.0

© Marc Ryckaert/cc-by-3.0

Parc du Cinquantenaire (French for “Park of the Fiftieth Anniversary”) or Jubelpark (Dutch for “Jubilee Park”) is a large public, urban park (30 hectares) in the easternmost part of the European Quarter in Brussels.

Most buildings of the U-shaped complex which dominate the park were commissioned by the Belgian government under the patronage of King Leopold II for the 1880 National Exhibition commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Belgian independence. During successive exhibitions in the same area, more structures were added. The centrepiece triumphal arch was erected in 1905 replacing a previous temporary version of the arcade by Gédéon Bordiau. The structures were built in iron, glass and stone, symbolising the economic and industrial performance of Belgium. The surrounding 30-hectare park esplanade was full of picturesque gardens, ponds and waterfalls. It housed several trade fairs, exhibitions and festivals at the beginning of the century. In 1930 the government decided to reserve Cinquantenaire for use as a leisure park.

The Royal Military Museum has been the sole tenant of the northern half of the complex since 1880. The southern half is occupied by the Jubelpark museum (Cinquantenaire Museum) and the AutoWorld Museum. The Temple of Human Passions, a remainder from 1886, and the Great Mosque of Brussels from 1978 are located in the north-western corner of the park The surrounding park esplanade is used for several purposes in the summer, such as military parades and drive-in movies. It is also the starting point for the 20 km of Brussels, an annual run with 30,000 participants.

Art & History Museum © M0tty/cc-by-sa-3.0 Entrance to the Palais Mondial (South Hall), housing AutoWorld © Ben2/cc-by-sa-3.0 Great Mosque of Brussels © Demeester/cc-by-sa-3.0 Entrance to the northern Bordiau Hall © flickr.com - Redvers/cc-by-2.0 © Marc Ryckaert/cc-by-3.0 Triumphal Arch of the Cinquantenaire was planned for the National Exhibition of 1880 © Marc Ryckaert/cc-by-3.0
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Triumphal Arch of the Cinquantenaire was planned for the National Exhibition of 1880 © Marc Ryckaert/cc-by-3.0
Originally this area was part of the military exercise ground outside of the center of the city, the so-called “Linthout” plains. For the National Exhibition of 1880, the plain was developed as an exhibition center. The original pavilions of the 1880 exhibition, designed by Gédéon Bordiau, were largely replaced with the triumphal arcade designed by Charles Girault in 1904 and the large halls on both sides. Only the glass-constructed Bordiau halls remain from the 1880 structures. The Arch was planned for the exhibition of 1880 and was meant to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the independence of Belgium. In 1880, only the bases of the columns were completed and, during the exhibition, the rest of the arch was constructed from wooden panels. During the following years, the completion of the monument was the topic of a continuous battle between King Leopold II and the Belgian government, which did not want to spend the money required to complete it. The park was also the site of the Brussels International Exposition (1897), for which the building wings were extended, although the arch was still incomplete. The original architect was the Belgian Gideon Bordiau, who spent close to 20 years on the project and died in 1904. His successor, chosen by Leopold, was the French architect Charles Girault. Girault changed the design from a single arch to a tri-parte arch, and began a course of round-the-clock construction in a final push to complete it. The sculptors included:

The monument was completed with private funding in 1905, just in time for the 75th anniversary of the Belgian independence.

In September 2007, the European Commissioner for Administrative Affairs Siim Kallas, together with Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region Charles Picqué, unveiled plans for rebuilding the European district. They included ‘Europeanising’ parts of the Jubelpark/Cinquantenaire complex, and installing a major “socio-cultural facility” in the North Hall, enabled to hold “major congresses and, perhaps, European Summits, events, exhibitions”, after moving the Aerospace Museum out to Tour & Taxis in the north of the city. The Jubelpark/Cinquantenaire would under the plans become one of three European pedestrian squares, being the one for events and festivities. Wider development surrounding the complex involves a new metro station called Jubelpark/Cinquantenaire and an underground car park.

Read more on visit.brussels – Cinquentenaire Park, Art & History Museum, Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History, Autoworld Museum and Wikipedia Parc du Cinquantenaire (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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