The Way Belgium Generated and almost lost the world’s first stock Market

Soaring rock columns weathered and cracked, ornate metal arches gnawed by rust: for the last 2 decades, even in the early center of Antwerp, the world’s first stock market has been fighting for survival.

On reading the words”stock exchange”, the very first pictures that spring to mind are most likely steely skyscrapers on Wall Street or in the town of London. But in fact, the birth of the world’s earliest major economic marketplace occurred in medieval times in the Low Countries, in which is now modern Belgium. At this moment, deals were brokered maybe not by grey-suited bankers furiously crying down telephones, but by innkeepers within their tunics and cloaks.

During the 1300s. The ports of Antwerp and Bruges instantly progressed into important industrial hubs for both global explorers and merchants.

The Venetians attracted precious gems transported from the china, while the Germans sent in furs and rye from as far off as Novgorod, Russia. Innkeepers in the two cities wouldn’t just provide a roof over the minds of travelers, but would also help them exchange their goods and sell their wares. By collecting information from international arrivals, the natives were able to announce exchange rates by the various banking hubs of Europe, including Paris, Venice and London.

One of the very important inn-keeping trading families have been that the Van der Buerse, who for at least five generations by the 1200s ran the Ter Buerse inn in Bruges. Each group of foreign retailers could have their own”state homes” in the square outside the Ter Buerse inn, where they would turn out to trade or, in bad weather, so take refuge inside to haggle, along with a glass of local beer.

Though historians argue whether it was Antwerp or Bruges, where the trading markets initially originated, many agree that it’s actually the now cloaked in scaffolding ‒ Handelsbeurs in Antwerp that was the earliest ever particularly dedicated inventory exchange building.

Initially constructed in 1531, the Handelsbeurs played home to the city’s chamber of trade for almost 500 decades ago By the early 16th century, most merchants were investing in less frequently in real goods and more from notes containing promises in 1 person to give money to the next.

During the period of its history, the stock exchange has double fallen prey to fire (early in 1583, on the other hand in 1858) and must be rebuilt; the vaulted neo-Gothic halls and colossal carved pillars that stand on the webpage now were erected in 1872.

In 1997, Belgium’s stock exchange was moved to Brussels, and the Handelsbeurs was abandoned. Efforts were made to use it to hold events, but in 2003 the structure was announced a dangerous fire threat, and left for dead.

Captivated by the haunting intrigue of its destroyed country, the Forex market has, these previous 20 decades, drawn hundreds of passengers and photographers, wanting to document the decline of a building that once given the pillar of our nascent economy.

Three decades ago, it was decided the building needs to be preserved, and since then aims have been evolving to turn the domed courtyard of this old marketplace to some public square with swanky bars and restaurants and fashionable events spaces. Through the renovation procedure, fascinating pieces of archaeology are being unearthed on either side: From medieval tiles to Iron Age urns.

Also called Den Grooten Robijn (the fantastic Ruby)this is lucrative trades of gemstones and other luxury goods arriving by boat in to Antwerp happened.

The hotel is expected to be revealed in early 20 20 and will be part of Marriott International. Original mosaics and the spectacular arched paths will also be preserved.

Therefore when you hand over a bank note or swipe your own card to cover a drink in the brand new, altered Handelsbeurs, give a thought to the 1000s of trades that happened on the stones under your feet, paving the way for that exchange and for your economy we understand now.

Other lost and abandoned areas in Belgium

The Veterinary School of Anderlecht

Dead critters pickling away in jars, rusty syringes on bloodstained trays, and lecture rooms with flooring half torn out: the abandoned Veterinary Faculty of Anderlecht could readily be confused for the collection of a horror film. Even the Neo Renaissance buildings, which were lain vacant since 1991 when the faculty transferred to Liège, are currently being converted into new apartments.

Certainly one of the best oeuvres of the king of Belgian art nouveau architecture, Victor Horta, this opulent town house was torn down in 1950 and replaced by a 12-storey tower.

Even the demolition caused such a public outcry the ministry of public works at the time chose to preserve the principal façade in the hope of one day reconstructing the building.

The expansive entry has for the last few years been collecting dust in a Brussels warehouse regularly frequented by squatters. Plans are afoot to revive the 15-metre wide granite façade by exhibiting it at the new Kanal museum by the Centre Pompidou in Brussels. Other components, such as the stained glass walls and wooden carvingsare on display at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

Château Miranda

Also called Château p Noisy, this fairytale castle in the Namur province played host to French nobles fleeing the Revolution, Nazi forces during the Battle of the Bulge, orphans housed there by the National Railway Company of Belgium and of late American film crews. The expense of up-keeping its Gothic-inspired turrets and spires became too great and out of the 1990s, it was seen only by way of a couple of vandals and urban explorers. The castle was eventually demolished in 20 17.

Entering a clearing in a forest near the border, you can still see several broken steering wheels and moss-covered exhaust pipes sprinkled one of the leaves. This can be all that’s made of the Châtillon Car Graveyard. The previous cars, fire trucks and ambulances placed to break (and rust) here were allegedly abandoned by American troops stationed in Belgium during the 2nd World War.

In fact, a lot of the vehicles dated from a subsequent period and so were kept here by way of a local car mechanic who used them for spare components. The cemetery of vehicles brought so many unwelcome tourists that the master decided to promote all the previous cars and now just a few forgotten parts remain.


The author: Michel THEYS

Michel Theys, a Belgian native, began his career as a civil servant, serving the public for several decades. After retirement, he shifted gears to follow his passion for journalism. With a background in public administration, Theys brought a unique perspective to his reporting. His insightful articles, covering a wide array of topics, swiftly gained recognition. Today, Michel Theys is a respected journalist known for his balanced and thoughtful reporting in the Belgian media landscape.

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