On Friday April 1st, the Council of Ministers in Belgium gave the green light to the redeployment and upgrading of the Cinquantenaire Park in Brussels, particularly in view of Belgium’s bicentenary in 2030. Originally designed to celebrate Belgium’s fiftieth anniversary, the site houses the Art and History Museum, the Army and Military History Museum (MRAH) and the Royal Institute for Artistic Heritage (IRPA).
The approved bill summarizes the initiatives and decisions being implemented. 156 million euros have already been set aside through the recovery plan and federal investments, for the modernization of the site (80.62 million at the expense of Beliris and 75.38 million at the expense of the Régie des bâtiments).
This project embodies the richness of our country’s identity and history. It symbolizes Belgium’s role at the heart of Europe.Alexander De Croo, Prime Minister
The site has become “a recreational and cultural hub of our capital,” expressed collectively Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, the Ministers of Pensions and Social Integration and Defense, Karine Lalieux and Ludivine Dedonder, as well as Secretary of State for Recovery and Strategic Investments, Thomas Dermine.
According to them, it is imperative to revalue the whole area. The buildings must be thoroughly restored, the museum identity must be rethought and synergies between institutions must be developed. The landscape is to be rethought, the circulation in the park must be redesigned, and the connection to the other cultural poles of Brussels must be established. The links with the neighboring European district must be reinforced.
Belgian newspaper Le Soir has reported that the museums located within the confines of the park have seen the number of visitors go down in recent years. A steering committee composed of the heads of cultural institutions and people from civil society has issued numerous recommendations covering several aspects.
The park once hosted many expositions and the 50th anniversary of Belgium was celebrated through the park, but the site has since lost its link with the cityThomas Dermine, State Secretary for Strategic Investments and Science Policy
The steering committee has already made concrete proposals for redeveloping the site, which the government has been able to take into account. This committee plans to work on a twofold basis: a long-term vision (2030 – of which Belgium’s Bicentenary may be a marker) and a preparation period which will begin in 2022.
“The prospect of Belgium’s bicentenary, the budgets earmarked and the desire of all players from the local to the European level to move forward are all opportunities to enhance and redeploy the Cinquantenaire site,” said Dermine. “With my colleagues, we will do everything possible to ensure that the site is upgraded by 2030.”