Tuesday, February 02, 2010


When I had to pick up my new passport I was so close to the European quarter in Brussels, that I went there just to have a look to see how it looks today. I didn't recognize anything. My father used to work in the old Berlaymont building (which looks like a Star) and I worked in there too for a while as free lance for the Commun Market (today the European Union). Therefore I knew this area very well. Already in the 60 th and 70th it had been a big construction area and it hasn't changed ! It's now 50 years that not only the European Union has to be constructed, but also its offices !

Today the office space occupied by the European institutions and its satellite organizations in Brussels is 3.5 million sqm (37) on a total of 12 million (129) most of which lies in the European quarter.

That's how it will be but when ?

This is the model

A picture of the European Commission (Berlaymont building) not from me of course.

The Berlaymont building was the first European edifice in Brussels in the 60s, it has been newly rebuilt after having been torned down due to asbestos problems.

Here it is how it looks now in the midst of the never ending construction area

There is a strange mixture of old and new buildings all around the European quarter

Offices for European employees scattered over several streets

This one suddenly jumps out of nowhere when you peacefully walk along old houses in a street.

It is the EU Council

The floor area is 85,000 sqm and the building has about 3000 gates. The design is based on 2 fronts shaped shell surrounding the glass offices

The entrance. Nobody could tell me who or what represents this statue

old an new together

Here houses the European Economic and Social Commettee

I thought this would be a church. At least it looks like

but it is not a church, there are offices in it for the European Commission !

a little "left over" church is just glued to the big one

and other offices. I really got lost. In all these buildings the Commission employs 25,000 and the Parliament employs about 5000 people.

When my father started there in 1958 they were only 3000 in total ! Belgians, Frenchs, Italians, Germans, Dutchs and Luxemburgers. All the other countries joined in slowly later. Here is more about The European Institutions and their location


Loree said...

I like the old buildings much better. They have so much better.

Jim said...

A variety of architecture. I always like the old architecture but some of the new can be good too.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

My name is Riet said...

Give me the old buildings, much better and isn't it terrible that they never seem to stop building. Great pictures.

diane b said...

What an important country in which you live Great photos of the old and new. I'm not sure if I like them jammed up together. It sure is a huge place. I always knew the head quarters were in Brussls but never realised how many buildings and people it involved. Thanks for the informative post.

Jossie said...

Thank you for the tour Gattina. As we are closer to Brussels than to Amsterdam I consider Brussels a little as my capital. The new buildings are interesting but the old ones are really beautiful. Brussels was a city with allure, elegance and charm in the old days. A lot of its grandeur has been demolished in the sixties. I can only hope that future plans and constructions will show more respect for the past.

Wolynski said...

Very informative. All these endless commitees at least employ a lot of people.

Cezar and Léia said...

The building of European Comission really looks like a Church, it's beautiful!
I loved your post, your pictures are awesome, and you also took great reflections shots in those buildings!
Very interesting post!

Rajesh said...

Beautiful shots of old and new in one place. That is lot of development in one area.

Maribeth said...

It's amazing how the EU has taken over! WOW! Oh well, in Washington, DC we have new and old buildings, monuments side by side now. It has changed so much in my lifetime.
How is dear Rosie?

Sylvia K said...

Thanks for the really interesting tour, Gattina! The older buildings are definitely my favorite. There is a lot of building going on!! Hope you have a great week!


Jientje said...

Interesting post! I don't think I've ever been there, it reminded me of certain areas in London where old and new are everywhere.

Melli said...

We have areas similar (in looks) to this in DC and Baltimore too. I guess any big city! I don't LIKE it when the new and the old mix. To ME it takes away the charm from either. I LOVE to look at the skyline of a big MODERN city... or to walk amongst the towering buildings too! But I also enjoy strolling through OLLLLLLLD cities and the charm of the old architecture. But when the two meet? It causes chaos in my head!

LadyFi said...

Those old buildings have great character, although I do like the streamlined look of the new ones too.

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Trotter said...

Hi Gattina! Sorry for the absence, but this starting of the year has been even crazier than usual!

Having been there so mant times, I must confess that I was happy to get rid of those buildings for a while. The point is that amazingly I'm starting missing them now that I don't go there for some years... ;)
Many hours at the Charlemagne and Justus Lipsius; very few at Berlaymonster... ;)
And also many nights at the former Intercontinental, now Crown Plaza...

Blogtrotter 2 is departing Miami by sea. Hope you like it and have a great week!!

Anonymous said...

Opulently I acquiesce in but I think the collection should have more info then it has.

A Lady's Life said...

Very interesting Thanks for the tour

Irishcoda said...

I love old architecture! Your new blog layout is wonderful and will enjoy following your new travel blog! :)

Jade said...

I miss Europe except for the winter :P I hope to visit again one day.


About Me

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I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are cats which I observe with fun and humor. I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels) / Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against Wellington and other European countries.


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