Cinquantenaire

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Template:Infobox park

Parc du Cinquantenaire (French for "Park of the Fiftieth Anniversary", pronounced Template:IPA-fr) or Jubelpark (Dutch for "Jubilee Park", pronounced Template:IPA-nl) is a large public, urban park (30 hectares) in the easternmost part of the European Quarter in Brussels, Belgium.

Most buildings of the U-shaped complex which dominate the park were commissioned by the Belgian government under the patrondom of King Leopold II for the 1880 National Exhibition commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Belgian independence, and successive exhibitions which place in the same area, replacing previous constructions. The present 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. This settled however in 1930 when it was decided that Cinquantenaire would become a leisure park.<ref name="AutoWorld: Building history"/>

The Royal Military Museum has been the sole tenant of the northern half of the complex since 1880. The southern half is currently occupied by the Cinquantenaire Art 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 (see map below).

Line 1 of the Brussels Metro and the Belliard Tunnel from Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat pass underneath the park, the latter partly in an open section in front of the Arch. The nearest metro stations are Schuman to the west of the park, and Mérode immediately to the east.

thumb was planned for the National Exhibition of 1880 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the independent state of Belgium]]

History

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Originally it was part of the military exercising ground outside of the center of the city, the so-called "Linthout" plains. For the world exhibition of 1880, the plain was converted to an exhibition center. The original pavilions of the exhibition designed by Gédéon Bordiau for the 1880 exhibition have now mainly been replaced with the triumphal arcade designed by Charles Girault in 1904 and the large halls on both sides, leaving only the glass constructed Bordiau halls as a memento of 1880.

The Arch was planned for the world exhibition of 1880 and was meant to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the independence of Belgium. In 1880, only the bases of the columns had been constructed and during the exhibition the rest of the arch was completed with 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, who did not want to spend so much money on it.

The park was also the site of the Brussels International (1897), for which the building wings were extended, although with the arch 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, began a course of round-the-clock construction in a final push. The sculptors included:

  • the quadriga, entitled Brabant Raising the National Flag, by Jules Lagae and Thomas Vincotte
  • figures of Hainaut and Limbourg by Albert Desenfans
  • figures of Antwerp and Liège by Charles van der Stappen
  • figures of East Flanders and West Flanders by Jef Lambeaux
  • figures of Namur and Luxembourg by Guillaume de Groot

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

Current tenants and usage

Template:Double image Today the various buildings of the Cinquantenaire host three musea and one mosque (see below). The surrounding park esplanade is used for several purposes in the summer, such as military paradesTemplate:Citation needed and drive-in movies. It is also the starting point for the 20 km of Brussels, an annual run with 30,000 participants. thumb (Cinquantenaire park)]]

Military museum

Template:Main At the exhibition of 1910, a section of military history was presented to the public and met with great success. Given the enthusiasm of the population, the authorities formed a museum of the army within an international context of extreme tension which leads to the Great War. The museum was originally installed on the site of the Abbaye de la Cambre and moved on the Cinquantenaire Park in 1923.

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It originally consisted of a set of objects collected by the officer Louis Leconte approximately 900 pieces and the collection was later heavily enriched by legacies, gifts and exchanges. Louis Leconte put particular to choose among the equipment abandoned by the Germans in 1918.

Today, it is possible to find collections of uniforms, weapons, vehicles and military equipment of all ages and all countries.

The north wing built by Gideon Bordiau is occupied by the aviation hall since 1972 when the Air and Space is inaugurated. The collection set includes various types of aircraft for some dating back to the beginning of the twentieth century. The collection as a whole is one of the largest in the world.

Art museum

Template:Main thumb The Cinquantenaire Museum is an art museum that occupies most of the southern part of the complex. It is part of the Royal Museums for Art and History, which are a Belgian federal institute of the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office.

The museum consists of several parts, which include a national collection of artifacts from prehistory to the Merovingian period (751 AD), a collection artifacts from the antiquity of the Near East, Egypt, Greece and Rome. Artifacts from non-European civilisations such as China, Japan, Korea, pre-Columbian America and the Islamic world are on display. There is also a collection of European decorative arts from the Middle Ages to the 20th century, showing sculptures, furniture, tapestries, textiles, costumes, old vehicles etc.

AutoWorld

Template:Main thumb]] AutoWorld is a vintage car museum in that occupies the southern hall of the complex.

It holds a large and varied collection of 350 oldtimers, European and American automobiles from the late 19th century until the seventies. Including Minervas, such models as a 1928 Bentley, a 1930 Bugatti and a 1930 Cord, and several limousines which belonged to the Belgian royal family.

Mosque

Template:Main The Great Mosque of Brussels located in the north-western corner of the park. It is the oldest mosque in Brussels, and is seat of the Islamic and Cultural Centre of Belgium.

The original building was built by architect Ernest Van Humbeek in an Arabic style, to form the east pavilion of the National Exhibition in 1880. The pavilion housed then a monumental fresco; “Panorama of Cairo” which was a major success. However, the lack of maintenance in the twentieth century caused the building to gradually deteriorate.

In 1967, at an official visit to Belgium by at King Faisal ibn Abd al-Aziz of Saudi Arabia, King Baudouin decided the fact that the building was to turn it into a place of worship. The mosque, designed by Arabic architect Tunisian Boubaker, was inaugurated in 1978 in the presence of Khalid ibn Abd al-Aziz and Baudouin.

Today, it also hosts a school and an Islamic research center whose objectives are to know the Muslim faith. The centre also provides courses of Arabic to adults and children, as well as initiations to Islam.

In popular culture

Was used as a filming location for Lucile Hadžihalilovi?'s film, Innocence (2004) and featured in "SimCity (2013 video game)".

Map

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Plans

Template:Further thumb 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.<ref name="EA buildings">Template:Cite web</ref> They included 'Europeanising' parts of the 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 et Taxis in the north of the city. The 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. It is possible that the European Council may have to move to this area from Résidence Palace for security reasons.<ref name="PDF Today">Template:Cite web</ref>

See also

  • List of post-Roman triumphal arches
  • AutoWorld
  • Brussels and the European Union
  • Cinquantenaire Museum, part of the Royal Museums of Art and History
  • Great Mosque of Brussels
  • Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and of Military History
  • Temple of Human Passions

References

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External links

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