Please find driving directions below the main text
Bank account of “National Trust Belgium” (NTAB)
BE17 0016 2443 2021
We will begin our day at the impressive Schaarbeek Town Hall, on the Place Collignon (Achille Collignon, mayor of Schaarbeek 1879-1891), where we will be guided through the building. It was built in Flemish Nouveau-Renaissance style, designed by the architect Jules Van Ysendijck (1836-1901), who won a competition organized by the borough.
The foundation stone was laid on 15 March 1885 and the building was officially opened by King Leopold II on 21 July 1887.
During the night of 16-17 April 1911, a fire destroyed much of the building and precious archive material. Maurice Van Ysendijk, son of the architect, was charged with the responsibility of rebuilding the Town Hall. He began the work in 1912, being briefly halted in 1915 because of World War 1. It was not until 1919 that the new building was officially inaugurated, in the presence of King Albert 1 and Queen Astrid. The Schaarbeek Town Hall was officially classified as a protected monument on 13th April 1995.
After the Town Hall visit, we will walk a short distance for lunch at the restaurant “Boca di Bacco” in the nearby Avenue Louis Bertrand, one of the most impressive streets in Brussels. The restaurant has a lovely Art Nouveau Interior.
After lunch we retrace our steps along the Avenue Bertrand to the Maison Autrique, 266 Chaussée de Haechtlaan. The house, built in 1863, was designed by the 32 year old Victor Horta, for his friend Eugène Autrique, who worked for Solvay as an engineer. This house, which narrowly escaped demolition, was the first commission that brought Horta to public attention. The plot of land in the street (originally No. 236) was purchased by Horta himself and he faithfully fulfilled the design elements requested by his client. The house has been beautifully restored and in 2008 it received the Medal of Europa Nostra for “the scrupulous restoration of an early masterpiece of Victor Horta.”
Next follows a guided walk along the upper end of Avenue Louis Bertrand. This stately avenue was named after the Belgian politician (1856-1943), writer and founder of the Belgium Workers’ Party, and laid out in 1898. By the beginning of the 20th century many beautiful houses were built there by such notable architects as Maurice Dechamps, Frans Hemelsoet and Gustave Strauven. The houses show a great diversity in style, from French and Italian Renaissance to Art Nouveau and Beaux Arts.
Our last visit of the day will be a guided tour of the Schaarbeek Beer Museum. This museum was begun by a group of enthusiasts in 1993, and officially opened on 26 March 1994. It houses a collection of more than 1,000 beers and corresponding beer glasses. After the tour we can enjoy a delicious Belgian beer in the museum café.