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€2.5m landmark artwork planned for Van Praet roundabout in Brussels
A monumental and symbolic sculpture by François Schuiten and Pierre Matter is to grace the Van Praet crossroads in Brussels in 2026, Brussels minister Sven Gatz has announced.
Entitled Moby Train, the sea creature work alludes to both maritime and railway worlds, and will be sited close to the Train World museum, Dockx shopping centre and Brussels canal.
A budget of €2.5 million has been accorded to the artwork, with 80% of the cost to be financed by the Brussels Region. It believes the sculpture will serve as a landmark for one of the main gateways to the capital that otherwise lacks a "clear architectural line".
“The Brussels-Capital region wants to give this important entrance a strong artistic identity, just as monumental gates are used for other cities’ entrances,” said Gatz.
The sea creature, evoking Melville’s mythical whale Moby Dick, will look as though it’s emerging from the canal, highlighting the city’s waterway and strategic port.
The train element commemorate Brussels’ long railway history. It was the first capital in the world to be served by this means of transport, said Brussels minister-president Rudi Vervoort.
In the design by Belgian artist François Schuiten and French sculptor Pierre Matter, the shell of the whale-shaped sculpture will feature an old diesel locomotive, 5204 Gros Nez. Schuiten is a well-known designer and comic-strip artist, who also created the scenography of Train World.
The installation should be finished by 2026, the year in which national rail company SNCB will be celebrating its 100th anniversary.
Photo: © Train World/SNCB