New mural retraces history of European institutions’ installation in Brussels

A permanent mural titled “Why did the European institutions come here?’ designed by Philosopher Philippe Van Parijs in collaboration with Brussels Mobility, was inaugurated on Monday at the Schuman subway station in the Belgian capital.

The event was attended by various dignitaries, including the Brussels Public Works Minister Pascal Smet, Brussels Commissioner for Europe Alain Hutchinson, Andrae Rupprechter, head of the EU Council’s Communication and Information Cell, and the head of the European Union representation in Belgium, Jimmy Jamar.

Using text and image, the fresco, which takes over two panels of the wall, retraces the history of decisions and chance happenings that led the European institutions to set up shop in this Brussels neighbourhood.

“The sisters of Berlaymont settled in the mid XIXth Century just next to what is now the Schumann Roundabout ,” Philippe Van Parijs explained. “In 1958, no agreement could be reached on the headquarters of the European Economic Commission and it’s the Belgian Foreign Minister who had to find a place to put the first officials provisionally.

“From then on, there was a snowball effect. The nuns’ garden was found to build what is now called the Berlaymont, in reference to the sisters of Berlaymont, and it served as a magnet for all types of buildings.”

An exposition of posters presenting the wide variety of Brussels projects financed by the European Regional Development Fund was also scheduled to be unveiled on Monday in the Arts-Loiman and Schuman train stations, in collaboration with Brussels Prime Minister Rudi Vervvoort.

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