Big news from the EU district in Brussels – The federal government intends to transform the Cinquantenaire Park and its institutions into new sociocultural flagship for Belgium in the context of Belgium’s 200th anniversary in 2030.
On the initiative of the Secretary of State in charge of Science Policy Thomas Dermine , the Minister in charge of the National Lottery Vincent Van Peteghem, the Minister of Defense Ludivine Dedonder, the Minister in charge of Beliris Karine Lalieux, the Secretary of State in charge of the Public Buildings Administration Mathieu Michel are joining forces to make the Brussels Cinquantenaire site an attractive, socio-cultural and scientific Belgian flagship once again by 2030, the bicentennial of the Belgium. The Royal Museum of Art and History, the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History, the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage, and Autoworld are committed to developing, together with the non-profit association Horizon 50-200, an ambitious master plan for the Cinquantenaire site under the banner ‘Cinquantenaire 2030’ culminating with two hubs focusing on Innovation and Heritage. The Cinquantenaire site and its institutions will become places of encounters, participation, multi-voice dialogue and constant exchange with a strong European orientation. National and foreign stakeholders will be involved, as well as citizens.
“The Cinquantenaire Park is the green heart connecting people from all across Brussels and Europe. We feel lucky to have such a unique park so close to us. Therefore, the Commission is happy to be involved in the new plans which reflect a true Belgo-European cooperation. Together with the Belgian authorities, we just launched a European competition for young architects to design innovative solutions covering the tunnel. I am looking forward to seeing European creativity in action in the Cinquantenaire site. This could become a flagship project under the New European Bauhaus”. European commissioner Johannes Hahn
Europe’s most ambitious heritage project
The master plan will open the vast collections of existing institutions to the public. A large-scale renovation of the buildings will ensure integration of state-of-the art infrastructures for research and scientific work. The construction of depot space and large-scale redevelopment of the Museum Art and History is planned. The Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage will be integrated into a new master plan. The new master plan will initiate a reflection on how to optimize the two halls and to explore synergies in terms of collection management and public activities on a site-wide basis.
“It is with great pleasure that we welcome this magnificent project, Cinquantenaire 2030, in the heart of the European quarter. What better way to celebrate Belgium’s bicentenary than with more encounters between the people of Brussels, their institutions, culture, and science!”Philippe Close, Mayor of City of Brussels
The first floor of the Bordiau Hall will be transformed on a transitional basis into a temporary exhibition space. This hall will host the exhibition “Towards New Worlds” on the occasion of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Also, an European competition will be organized for young architects to propose solutions for covering the traffic tunnel that cuts the park in two. The renovated Cinquantenaire site also aims to be a model of sustainability, ecological renovation, and innovation.
“As Mayor of Etterbeek, the Cinquantenaire is at the heart of my daily work. Our municipality shines thanks to its presence and works every day to ensure its security and to perpetuate its appeal. With the prospect of the country’s bicentenary, the project that is taking shape does not lack ambition and we support it. We are also delighted that it fully integrates Europe. Not only because the institutions are located on the periphery of the park, but also because most of the people living along its borders represent Europe intensely. In order to make this project a reality in 2030, we need to fully involve the inhabitants around the Cinquantenaire Park, which will allow us to further enrich the concept.” Vincent De Wolf, mayor of Etterbeek.
A new socio-cultural flagship
To realize this ambition, on September 1, 2022 State Secretary Dermine created the non-profit Horizon 50-200, an enthusiastic team led by Board President Sophie Le Clercq. Their task, together with their colleagues within the Belspo institutions as well as other institutions present on the Cinquantenaire site, is to reinvigorate the Site effective immediately, building towards 2030, under the banner ‘Cinquantenaire 2030’. The ambition is to turn the site and its institutions into a new socio-cultural flagship in Brussels.
“The canal zone, which is in full development, focuses on the contemporary arts. The Mont des Arts is known for Fine Arts. In addition to these two cultural hubs in Brussels, we want to build a sociocultural hub in Brussels. It will be the place where heritage, culture, sciences and innovation meet to strengthen the dialogue with the public.” Team Cinquantenaire 2030
To set this process in motion, Cinquantenaire 2030 created an “Outdoor Lab” where artists and park visitors can meet each other. Cinquantenaire 2030 also welcomes the Art Nouveau Year and a Hoffmann exhibition in 2023. In addition, two large-scale projects at the intersection of art and science, heritage and innovation will be launched from 2024: one questioning the role of a museum in the XXIst century and the other “Towards New Worlds: Belgian exploration through time and space”, led by the Belgian scientific institutions. Many more are in the pipeline. The programming that is helping to set the transformation of the site in motion is possible thanks to the support of National Lottery players. The aim is for Cinquantenaire Park to become a historic place where history is made every day by everyone together.”
To achieve this ambitious goal, the non-profit association is working with the Brussels authorities, Europe, the federal and the Brussels governments and their institutions, as well as many partners, private stakeholders, and public agencies, under the banner Cinquantenaire 2030.
To learn more about this flagship project for Belgium, visit the Cinquantenaire 2030 website.