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Long-overdue €75m renovation of Brussels Conservatory gets go-ahead

05:52 09/08/2021

After decades of dealing with the tortuous procedures required when the federal government, the Flemish community and the Brussels-Wallonia Federation have to work together and foot the bill together on a project, the building housing the world renowned Royal Conservatory in Brussels is finally going to be completely restored starting in 2024.

The situation has been dire for more than 20 years and parts of the building are so dangerous that they are closed to everyone.

“With the association Conservamus that we founded 12 years ago, we have succeeded in making ourselves heard in the political world and raised the awareness of the general public," said director Frédéric de Roos.

"Finally we have obtained the absolute certainty that the work will be done and will be fully financed. Above all, it is a magnificent project which preserves the building which is fully landmarked and to which we will add cutting edge equipment and superior acoustics. You couldn’t ask for more."

Mathieu Michel, secretary of state in charge of managing federal properties, said: "The aim of the decisions was to raise the funds available for the work, nearly €75 million. The federal government, the Wallonia-Brussels Federation and Flanders are providing €20 million each, and €15 million is being added by Beliris "

The works will not start before 2024 and the procedure does not appear to be able to be accelerated. "We must first carry out all the studies,” Michel added. “It could have happened faster but the project will be successful and this is the most important."

The complexity of the procedures between the governmental institutions, which is often referred to as "institutional lasagna", makes this kind of multi-party decision very complicated.

For Michel, it was especially necessary to coordinate and take the first step: "Once the file was on my desk, I identified that we had to make the effort, and we put the €20 million directly on the table. Everyone followed."


Written by Richard Harris