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Laeken's American Theatre to become a Flemish cultural centre

Illustration picture shows the 'Amerikaans Theater' (American Theatre) near the Atomium, at the Heysel Plateau in Brussels. The theatre was built after the World Expo 1958 and was then used by the VRT Flemish Public Broadcasting company. (BELGA PHOTO THOMAS THIELEMANS)
06:09 17/06/2022

The American Theatre in Laeken is to be given a new lease of life under plans by the Flemish government, in cooperation with the City of Brussels, to turn it into a cultural centre, Bruzz reports.

Flemish minister-president Jan Jambon spoke on the proposals during the meeting of the culture committee of the Flemish aprliament on Thursday. He revealed that the project, which is included in the Flemish coalition agreement, has taken a further step forward with the submitting of a co-signed letter with the City of Brussels asking the Federal Buildings Agency to start the amicable expropriation of the building.

The next step would be the transferring of ownership from the Buildings Agency to the City of Brussels. The Flemish government would then transform it into a cultural centre, via a leasehold agreement with the City of Brussels. The culture house would be managed by the Ancienne Belgique. The theatre’s transformation would cost an estimated €40 million.

Flemish minister for Brussels Benjamin Dalle said on Wednesday that "this dossier once again makes it clear that the Flemish government is serious about strengthening the ties between Flanders and Brussels. The renewed American Theatre will be a real breeding ground for young artistic talent where they can create, learn and exchange among themselves."

The building on the Heysel plateau was erected for the World Exhibition of 1958 and functioned for years as a television studio for the Flemish broadcaster VRT. It has been empty for the past 10 years.

Written by Nick Amies