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Bank account of “National Trust Belgium” (NTAB)
BE17 0016 2443 2021
What better way can we end this year’s program than by immersing ourselves for a few hours in the Brussels late Middle Ages (14th and 15th centuries), through the images, stories and characters from the Library of the Dukes of Burgundy and by exploring the traditions of the guilds?
The history of the Royal Library – nicknamed “Albertine” in French and “Albertina” in Dutch – dates back to the late Middle Ages, the time of the Dukes of Burgundy, whose library is now included in the collection.
The Dukes of Burgundy were skilled politicians and cultured patrons. They collected an extensive and fascinating treasure of unique manuscripts, the so-called “Bibliothèque des Ducs de Bourgogne” or “Librije van Bourgondië”.
These masterpieces, including the “Chroniques du Hainaut” with miniatures by Rogier van der Weyden, have survived the ravages of time and history.
They are now part of the museum of the Royal Library and show a multifaceted picture of the customs and cultural heritage of the late Middle Ages in the Low Countries and the capital.
The museum opened in 2020 and was concentrated in and around the restored Nassau Chapel, all integrated into a new building built on the Kunstberg / Mont des Arts in the second half of the 20th century.
During our guided visit we will learn all about the illuminated manuscripts, admire the craftsmanship of medieval miniaturists, discover which subjects were popular in medieval libraries and unravel the symbolism in paintings, miniatures, altarpieces and sculptures. Through anecdotes, stories and facts we gain more insight into a fascinating chapter of early European history.
After our visit to the Royal Library, we are expected at the seat and the museum of the Great Royal Serment and of Saint George of the Crossbowmen (Het Groot Koninklijk Serment en van St-Joris der Kruisboogschutters van Brussel / Le grand Serment Royal et de Saint-Georges des Arbalétriers de Bruxelles).
This association, serving the city since 1381, respects the tradition of camaraderie of the former Brussels guilds. It has 85 members, still practices traditional crossbow shooting to this day and plays an important role in the Ommegang parade.
The museum was established to preserve some 1,500 artefacts, historical weapons and the knowledge required to manufacture, repair and preserve the traditional crossbow, a precious element of Brussels folklore.
The visit ends with a Christmas and New Year’s drink.