Parc du Cinquantenaire (French)
Jubelpark (Dutch)
The centrepiece triumphal arch and horseshoe-shaped arcade
Type Public leisure park, pedestrian square
Location City of Brussels, Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium
Coordinates 50°50′26″N 4°23′34″E / 50.84056°N 4.39278°E / 50.84056; 4.39278Coordinates: 50°50′26″N 4°23′34″E / 50.84056°N 4.39278°E / 50.84056; 4.39278
Area 30 hectares (74 acres)[1]
Created 1880

Parc du Cinquantenaire (French for "Park of the Fiftieth Anniversary", pronounced [paʁk dy sɛ̃kɑ̃tnɛʁ]) or Jubelpark (Dutch for "Jubilee Park") is a large public, urban park (30 hectares) in the easternmost part of the European Quarter in Brussels, Belgium.

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 arch 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.[1]

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

The triumphal arch was planned for the National Exhibition of 1880 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the independent state of Belgium



The inauguration of the Park at the 1880 National Exhibition. Notice the substitute arch, the intact southern Bordiau wing, Quenast Columns and frontmost fountain.

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 park was also the site of the Brussels International (1897), for which the building wings were extended, although with the arch still incomplete.

The original architect was the Belgian Gideon Bordiau, who spent close to 20 years on the project and died in 1904. His successor, chosen by Leopold, was the French architect Charles Girault. Girault changed the design from a single arch to a tri-parte arch, began a course of round-the-clock construction in a final push. The sculptors included:

The monument was finally completed by way of private funding in 1905, just in time for the 75th anniversary of the Belgian independence.

Current tenants and usage

A maquette of the complex
The esplanade in front of the Arch. In the plans mentioned below, the Belliard Tunnel would be enclosed.

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[citation needed] and drive-in movies.[2] It is also the starting point for the 20 km of Brussels, an annual run with 30,000 participants.[3]

Drive-in movies (Cinquantenaire park)

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.

Entrance to the northern Bordiau Hall
The aviation section in the North Hall

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, Egypt, Greece and Rome. Artifacts from non-European civilisations such as China, Japan, Korea, 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.


Entrance to the Palais Mondial (South Hall), housing 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 a 1928 Bentley, a 1930 Bugatti and a 1930 Cord, and several limousines which belonged to the Belgian royal family.


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 Arabia, 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 of the park and the complex
N. Bordiau wing
S. Bordiau wing
South hall

North hall
Sports ground

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.[4] 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.[5]

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 Palace for security reasons.[6]

See also


External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • cinquantenaire — [ sɛ̃kɑ̃tnɛr ] adj. et n. • 1775; de cinquante, d apr. centenaire 1 ♦ Qui a cinquante ans d âge. Un monument cinquantenaire. 2 ♦ N. m. Cinquantième anniversaire. ⇒ jubilé. ● cinquantenaire adjectif Qui existe depuis cinquante ans. ● …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Cinquantenaire — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Cet article a pour sujet cinquantenaire. Pour une définition du mot « cinquantenaire », voir l’article cinquantenaire du Wiktionnaire. De… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • CINQUANTENAIRE — n. m. Anniversaire d’un fait, au bout de cinquante ans écoulés. Célébrer le cinquantenaire d’un événement. Le cinquantenaire de l’ordination d’un prêtre. On dit aussi par abréviation le Cinquantenaire de quelqu’un …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 8eme edition (1935)

  • cinquantenaire — (entrée créée par le supplément) (sin kan te nê r ) s. m. 1°   Anniversaire au bout de cinquante ans. •   Aujourd hui a eu lieu, dans la résidence royale, la célébration du cinquantenaire du mariage du roi et de la reine de Saxe, Journ. offic. 12 …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Cinquantenaire des Indépendances Africaines — Le Cinquantenaire des Indépendances Africaines est une célébration de l indépendance de plusieurs pays d Afrique francophone organisée par le gouvernement français et plusieurs gouvernements africains. Le 5 juin 2009, Nicolas Sarkozy a nommé… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Cinquantenaire Museum — The Cinquantenaire Museum or Jubilee Park Museum is located in the Cinquantenaire park in Brussels, Belgium. It is part of the Royal Museums for Art and History, which is a Belgian federal institute of the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office… …   Wikipedia

  • Cinquantenaire/Jubelpaleis —    The Cinquantenaire consists of an arch with colonnade, a park, and a building complex of two wings that house three of the city s major museums.    Situated at the eastern end of the avenue de la Loi, the site had served as a military parade… …   Historical Dictionary of Brussels

  • cinquantenaire — nm. sinkant(e)néro (Albanais | Aix, Villards Thônes) …   Dictionnaire Français-Savoyard

  • Parc du Cinquantenaire — 50° 50′ 26″ N 4° 23′ 34″ E / 50.84046, 4.392833 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Parc du Cinquantenaire à Bruxelles — Parc du Cinquantenaire 50° 50′ 26″ N 4° 23′ 34″ E / 50.84046, 4.392833 …   Wikipédia en Français

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