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Jubelpark (Dutch for "Jubilee Park") or Parc du Cinquantenaire (French for "Park of the Fiftieth", pronounced ) is a large public, urban park (30 hectares) in the easternmost part of the European Quartermarker in Brusselsmarker, Belgiummarker.

Most buildings of the U-shaped complex which dominate the park, were commissioned by King Leopold II and built for the 1880 National Exhibition commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Belgian independence. The centrepiece triumphal archmarker was erected in 1905. 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.

The Royal Military Museummarker has been the sole tenant of the northern half of the complex since 1880. The southern half is currently occupied by the Cinquantenaire Art Museummarker and the AutoWorld Museummarker. The Temple of Human Passionsmarker, a remainder from 1886, and the Great Mosque of Brusselsmarker 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/Wetstraatmarker pass underneath the park, the latter partly in an open section in front of the Arch. The nearest metro stations are Schumanmarker to the west of the park, and Mérodemarker immediately to the east.

History

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 have now mainly been replaced with the Arch and the large halls on both sides of the arch, 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 monument was finally completed by way of private funding in 1905, just in time for the 75th anniversary of the Belgian independence. It is the widest and second highest (after Parismarker) triumphal archmarker in the world.

Current tenants and usage

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 parades and drive-in movies. It is also the starting point for the 20 km of Brusselsmarker, an annual run with 30,000 participants.


Military museum

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.

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

The art museum's dome in the south-western part of the complex
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 og the Near East, Egyptmarker, Greecemarker and Romemarker. Artifacts from non-European civilisations such as Chinamarker, Japanmarker, Koreamarker, 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

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 the Bentley 1928, the Bugattimarker 1930 and the Cord 1930, and several limousines which belonged to the Belgian royal family.

Mosque

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 Arabiamarker, 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.

Map





Future plans

Cinquantenaire is envisioned to be 'Europeanised', and its North Hall (pictured) could possibly be turned into a major "socio-cultural facility".
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. 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 Palacemarker for security reasons.

See also



References

  1. Renseignements généraux
  2. Brussel Nieuws. Brussel verruimd de horizon. Retrieved on 2007-12-11


External links




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