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Art Nouveau in Brussels

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

The capital of Belgium is the city of Brussels, completely surrounded by Flanders (Dutch- speaking) and considered by many to also be the capital of the EU or European Union.  Brussels is the crossroads of European culture as well, with the Germanic being to the north and the Romance (French) in the south.  It is no wonder that Brussels is considered to be the archetypal “melting pot” of Europe due to the significant role the city plays on the European continent. The current population is 1 million while the greater area is over 2 million.

Brussels Art Nouveau

Steeped in history and renowned for its architecture, cuisine, and culture, Brussels has one of the most unique character factors of any European city.  The city has evolved from a fortress town that was founded in the 10th century into one of the larger, most prolific metropolitan areas of Europe.  Brussels is also Belgium’s constitutional capital city as well as hubs of the Flanders and Flemish communities.  However, what separates the city from every other one in Europe is its art nouveau style.

During the late 19th century, artists, merchants, and the majority of the middle class all wanted to construct homes that were “in vogue.”  Also referred to as “modern style” in the English language, the art nouveau movement was launched in 1893.  What characterizes the art nouveau architecture of the era was the use of metal structures because it enabled the architects of the day to use some amazing innovations in conjunction with their genius.

Art nouveau architecture also enables the builder to create well lit domains due to the openness of the style which allows much more light to enter the structure.  Additionally, art nouveau is comprised of three motifs or architectural styles – arabesque, animal or floral patterns, and feminine silhouettes.  During the period of the Viennese Secession, which occurred at the turn of the century, the architecture began shifting to a geometric look and it was not uncommon to see a blend of circles and squares in most designs.

Literally hundreds of cafés, homes, schools, and shops rivaled one another for being the most unique architectural creation of the day.  The quality of the craftsmanship was unparalleled and primarily comprised of:

  • · ironwork
  • · mosaics
  • · stained glass
  • · wood

Art nouveau is the consummate combination of architectural excellence and decorative arts.  It’s as simple as that.  When you visit the city of Brussels, you will quickly discover what we mean when saying that.  Throughout the decades since the launching of the style, it has withstood the tests of time and remains the reason for Brussels being a one-of-a-kind city.  Although the Art Nouveau flame would burn brightly for less than two decades, the style remains proof of the architectural wonders of the day.

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Photo by Fugue.

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About the author

Venere Travel Blog writer anita choudhary

Anita Choudhary is a freelance writer and travel blogger based in New Delhi, India. She loves to travel and has traveled extensively in India. Exploring new places, reading and writing are her hobbies.

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