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Brussels’ Palais du Midi included in list of Europe’s most endangered heritage sites

Palais du Midi/Zuidpaleis in Brussels
16:52 01/02/2024

The capital’s monument to eclectic architecture, Palais du Midi, is among the 11 most threatened sites in Europe, according to Europa Nostra, a Europe-wide citizens’ movement protecting cultural and natural heritage.

The shortlist, compiled with the European Investment Bank Institute, highlights stunning architectural heritage sites that are threatened by demolition, neglect or lack of funding.

Each year, Europa Nostra selects monuments threatened with destruction for its 7 Most Endangered Programme, reports RTBF. The final list will be announced in April.

The 19th-century Palais du Midi risks being dismantled due to complex construction work required for the new metro line 3. In a controversial move, city public transport network Stib has requested a permit to demolish the interior of the building in order to dig a 120-metre tunnel under the palace.

Built between 1875 and 1880, the landmark building is sited in the Stalingrad-Lemonnier area of the city centre. It was designed by Belgian architect Wynand Janssens in the eclectic style to house a covered market and commercial centre.

Now home to numerous shops, businesses, sports clubs and a further education college, it boasts a grand 165m façade and interior courtyard.

Palais du Midi’s inclusion in the endangered list supports the call by urban action group ARAU for the building to be listed.

It is also "an international recognition of its value, a value too often underestimated, or even completely denied, by Brussels political leaders," says ARAU in a press release.

Residents of the building are also campaigning for it to be saved and have formed the group Notre Palais/Ons Paleis (Our Palace).

Photo: ©Belga/Nicolas Maeterlinck

Written by The Bulletin