Parc du Cinquantenaire: the Arch

The magnificent Triumphal Arch, under which I pass most days of the week. Like most buildings in the park, it was commissioned by King Leopold II for the 1880 National Exhibition, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the independence of Belgium, gained after chasing away the Dutch in 1830.

It would not be completed until 1905, in good time for the seventy-fifth anniversary which, technically, would make it the Arcade du Septante Cinquième. But, for all intents and purposes, it still went down in history as the Arcade du Cinquantenaire.

Above the triple arch, an inscription – in French on one face, in Dutch on the other – doesn’t resolve the ambiguity:  “This monument was erected in 1905 for the glorification of the independence of Belgium”.

Eh well, it’s the intention that counts, after all!

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Parc du Cinquantenaire

Brussels, 27 July 2014

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