Belgium, wrinkled? At a time when commemorations are a great success with the public, it is with a look to the future that Belgium is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year. A Sixty events are planned across the country, all year round. Exhibitions, concerts, folklore ... The year 2005 will be Belgian or not.
Once upon a time, there was Belgium ...
August 1830. At the Théâtre royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, we play La Muette de Portici, the opera by French composer Daniel-François-Esprit Auber. As the tenor begins his liberating verse: “Sacred love of the fatherland, give us back our daring and pride! To my country, I owe my life, it will owe me my freedom! », A riot breaks out among the spectators. The Belgians, members of the kingdom of the Netherlands since the Congress of Vienna (1815), have a hard time forced marriage with the Dutch Protestants. The desire for independence is growing. In September 1830, inspired by the July revolution in Paris, the insurgents from all over the country confront the Dutch troops in Brussels and manage to drive them out on the night of September 26 to 27. On October 4, 1830, the independence of Belgium was proclaimed.
2005. The Belgian state is 175 years old. It is a modern, dynamic country. However, folklore and traditions have not disappeared, quite the contrary. And those who summarize Belgium only with its fries and its jokes may have surprises. Here, in the "flat country", particularism is set up as an institution. Throughout the year, marches, parades, processions (each village has its patron saint), historical-religious processions and carnivals (of Rhenish, Walloon or Laetare traditions) enliven the life of the municipalities.
On the occasion of this 175th anniversary, Belgium has decided to highlight this internationally recognized heritage. Thus, for the first time in the history of the country, the giants will meet and the processions will parade together during a "procession of processions ... folk and traditional".
Small selection of exhibitions
Numerous cultural events will animate this year 2005. In particular, three exhibitions will be held in Brussels. The first, “Visionary Belgium. It happened close to home ”, because it is written by Harald Szeemann. The curator specializing in contemporary art wished to leave the beaten track to show a Belgium made up of contradictions, torn between beliefs and marginality, revolts and traditions. Belgium seen by Harald Szeemann brings together big names, which we will discover through a thematic route: plastic art (Magritte, Ensor, Delvaux ...), architecture (Victor Horta, Henry Van de Velde .. .), music, literature and cinema. The exhibition will be held at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, from February 18 to May 15.
The second exhibition is intended for the general public, without falling into popularization. "Made in Belgium" traces the history of the country in all its aspects through twelve themes (comics, sport, science, decorative arts, plastic arts, folklore ...). The visitor will meet the most famous Belgian figures, from Tintin to Eddy Merckx, including Jaques Brel. Nearly 4 pieces, coming from 000 museums around the world, will be exhibited at the Center Van Der Borght from March 200 to December 7, 31. It is the largest exhibition on Belgium ever organized.
Finally, “1958” (Royal Museum of Art and History, from May 25 to December 31, 2005) will offer a formidable panorama of art deco since the creation of the Belgian State. A large part of the exhibition will be devoted to Art Nouveau and to designers like Horta and Van De Velde. These names do not speak to you insiders will be welcome. In addition, this exhibition will give you lots of good ideas for decorating your home sweet home!
July 21, the height of the festivities
On the 21st, in the year 1831, Leopold I took the oath and became King of the Belgians. For the 175th anniversary of the country's independence, the days of the 20th and 21st are promising to be particularly lively in the capital. The festivities will begin on Wednesday 20 at 16:30 p.m. with a huge gathering of brass bands. This will be followed by the national ball, place du Jeu de Balle. The next day, after the traditional military parade, a big popular festival will be held in Laeken Park from 16 p.m. to 21 p.m. It will continue at the Atomium with the "25". It will swing!
Finally, don't forget that this is in fact a double anniversary: the 175th anniversary of Belgian independence, as well as the 25th anniversary of federalism. The federal government and the Walloon region have chosen to join forces to celebrate this double event. Also, from September you will also be in Namur, Stavelot, Marcinelle and throughout the south of Belgium to ... party, that goes without saying!
Where to sleep in Brussels?
Hotels do not come cheap in Brussels. Fortunately, there are a few good youth hostels and a few small guesthouses.
- Center Vincent Van Gogh CHAB : rue Traversière, 8, 1210. Tel. 217-01-58. Fax 219-79-95. It is the establishment in Brussels that is the most backpacker. Only for 17-35 year olds. Count 9,50 lunch included.
- Residence Les Ecrins : rue du Rouleau, 15, 1000. Tel. : 02-219-36-57. Fax 223-57-40. Internet: www.lesecrins.com. There are 2 rooms at 55 € with sanitary facilities on the landing. Otherwise, double rooms with sanitary facilities (bath or shower) from 75 to 80 €, breakfast included. Quiet and central, very well maintained, very welcoming.
Where to eat ?
Le Pré Salé 513-65-45. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Count 10 to 15 € for a dish. More brusseleir, you die! It is the temple of shrimp croquette, calf's head like a turtle, but above all large, fleshy mussels in season, the house's great specialty. Here, we only serve Golden, the Rolls of Zeeland mussels!
- The Grand Site website of the event 25.be.
- The 25th »Offers one entry to each of the participating exhibitions (there are 14 of them). The pass is on sale by telephone on 07-02-175-25, online at www.175-25.be, in all post offices, as well as at the entrances to the museums and exhibition halls concerned. It costs 30 €.
- Belgian Tourist Office Wallonia-Brussels and Flanders: 21, bd des Capucines, 75002 47-42-41-18 for Wallonia-Brussels and 01-42-66-37-41 for Flanders. Internet: www.tourismebelgique.com.