This weekend, more than 40.000 visitors attended Heritage Days in Brussels. The Brussels-Capital Region was buzzing, offering visitors the opportunity to visit no less than 142 places and take part in around a hundred events connected to the “Meeting points” theme.
Cafés, restaurants, literary circles, ballrooms or party rooms, theatres, ticket offices, boardrooms, meeting rooms, private & reception rooms, museums… all of them opened their doors to the delight of visitors. People from Brussels, other cities across Belgium and even the neighbouring countries took part in this annual event, in order to discover the heritage of amazing buildings across our city but also to meet and exchange ideas.
Pascal Smet, State secretary in charge Urbanism and Heritage was pleased with the results of the event:
“This edition of Heritage Days is a new success. More than 40,000 visits were recorded in two days (double the last year!). This is exciting and once again demonstrates the attractiveness of heritage. Interestingly, almost 30% of downloads and requests for visits were via the English version of the site.”
He also concluded that this proves the huge international dimension of Brussels and that results of Heritage Days 2021 will be taken into account – “We will draw conclusions from this by offering more guided tours in English next year. It will be a challenge. I would also like to thank all the staff from Urban Brussels who worked hard to make these days a real celebration, as well as all those who have agreed to open their places or have proposed activities thus contributing to living and admiring our heritage.”
In addition, many museums, cafes and restaurants opened their doors this weekend. “This year’s program was very substantial. Never has the mobilization been so important”, confirms Bety Waknine, general manager of Urban.
Throughout these two days, the public also responded and took part in the various offered activities. Guided tours, walks, discoveries by bus or by bike, exhibitions, rallies…, the various associations working on the preservation and enhancement of heritage as well as the municipal administrations had worked hard to highlight the heritage wealth of the Region. Among these, the enormous success of the bus rides was noted – they were sold out even before the Heritage Days began. The same happened with the rallies and bicycle tours.
Notably, certain places which took part in this event are rarely or never accessible to the public which aroused a real enthusiasm among the public so the the pots were very quickly sold out for these locations. Some of the interesting buildings and institutions from this year’s edition were:
French Embassy of Belgium / Residence of France
Former Aegidium performance hall
Great Synagogue of Brussels – Great Synagogue of Europe
Masonic temples of the Circle of Philanthropic Friends
Hotel of the Governor of the National Bank of Belgium
but also the great classics:
National Basilica of Koekelberg
Royal Theater of La Monnaie
Other, less well-known places have also had their share of success:
local scout at the Institut Saint-Boniface
Hof ter Musschen’s bakery
vegetable gardens of the Evere mill
Hundreds of visitors also took advantage of the visit to the Halles Saint-Géry – a central information point for the Days – to visit the “Down in the river” exhibition, as well as the exhibition dedicated to the urban zoom photographic competition.