On 20 June 2022, the Goethe-Institut Brussels celebrated the inauguration of its new premises at Rue Belliardstraat 58. In fact, the new location marks the return of the institute into its former – now fully renovated venue, hosted in the Representation of the State of Baden -Württemberg.
The inauguration ceremony was an excellent opportunity to learn more about the current focus of German cultural and educational relations and the activities of Goethe-Institut in Brussels. Dr Elke Kaschl-Mohni, Director of the Goethe-Institut Brussels and Martin Kotthaus, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Kingdom of Belgium welcomed the return of the institute to its old premises and shared their views on the role that the institute plays in the current European and global state of affairs. It was also a nice opportunity to reflect on the history of the building in Rue Belliard and to present the vision for the coming period. The guests were also greeted by Bodo Lehmann, Head of the Representation of the State of Baden-Württemberg which is headquartered in this building. Melat Gebeyaw Nigussie, general & artistic director of Beursschouwburg reflected on the topic of collaboration and how Goethe-Institut and Beurschouwburg work together to create innovative and engaging cultural projects.
The inauguration ceremony was filled with interesting program including the participation of FAVO Jazz ensemble which provided really nice music experience throughout the evening. The poet Miss Elli read pieces of her poetry and gave audience something to think about, from the lack of equal opportunities to issues of modern world and work-related burnout. At the end of the evening, the public could enjoy the summer party in the garden, and dance with the sounds of Blck Mamba.
The Goethe-Institut Brussels is the regional institute for the south-western region of Europe which features 21 institutes. From its head office in Brussels, it contributes to strengthening the European integration process and convey European cultural diversity at a political and strategic level. Its cultural, educational and information programmes in Belgium promote exchange and cultural engagement, as well as interest in the German language which is Belgium’s third national language.
About the new (old) location in the Rue Belliardstraat
In September 2021, the Goethe-Institut Brussels returned to its former location at 58 Rue Belliardstraat after six years of conversion and renovation works. In the immediate vicinity of the European quarter and the historic city centre, the location is ideal as a meeting point for the local cultural scenes as well as an exchange forum with EU and (inter)national organisations in Brussels. The Institute is pleased to welcome its guests in a building that is both historic and modern.
The Goethe-Institut Brussels was opened on 23 October 1959 as the “Deutsche Bibliothek Brüssel” (German Library Brussels) at 66 Rue Royale Koningsstraat. In 1966, the Institute moved to 58 Rue Belliardstraat, where it offered its first German courses one year later. The building in Rue Belliardstraat had already belonged to the Prussian Delegation in Belgium in 1832 and was officially returned to the Federal Republic of Germany after World War II in 1961 as a sign of friendship and reconciliation. Since 2009, 21 institutes in France, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain have been coordinated in Brussels as the Regional Institute for Southwest Europe.
The restored historical façade conceals modern premises and multipurpose room systems. An infrastructure with innovative conference technology enables hybrid meetings as well as blended learning in language courses. Language courses can thus be held partly online and partly in person. This creates more flexibility for German learners with busy schedules and at the same time offers the group feeling attending the courses together.
The return to the old location was made possible thanks to the financial commitment of the State of Baden-Württemberg, which purchased the historic neighbouring building next to its own state representation from the Federal Republic of Germany in 2015, invested in its modernisation and now houses the Goethe-Institut as a long-term tenant. This means that the Goethe-Institut Brussels will be able to work and operate sustainably in a low-energy building in the future.
European dimension of the Goethe-Institut Brussels
The political-strategic positioning of the Goethe-Institut Brussels in respect of the European institutions is becoming increasingly more important. With an EU liaison office that has been growing steadily since the early 2000s, the institute has managed to emerge as one of the most important think tanks for European cultural policy. Through its diverse programmes, it strengthens the role of the cultural sector in the context of European integration and in European external relations. It also supports the deepening of European cultural relations and cultural diversity in Europe.
The Goethe-Institut in Belgium
The Goethe-Institut Belgium has been committed to German-Belgian cultural exchange and the promotion of the German language in Belgium for more than 60 years. As a recognised cultural ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, it opens up spaces for trusting dialogue as well as innovative and value-based cooperation. It can now once again act more visibly than before in its new home as an impetus for civil society discourse and create new synergies between Germany and Belgium through its interdisciplinary cultural and educational programmes.
To get more info on the programmes and projects of the Brussels office, visit the website of Goethe-Institut in Belgium.