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New date set for completion of Justice Palace renovations

llustration picture shows a policeman outside during the evacuation of the Brussels justice palace, Tuesday 19 November 2013. BELGA PHOTO OLIVIER VIN
09:47 04/01/2021

Work on the facade of the Justice Palace in Brussels should be completed in 2023, with the exterior renovation completed in 2030, state secretary responsible for federal buildings Mathieu Michel has said, adding that completing the work was "a priority". The renovation of the Justice Palace began in 1984 and the work to restore the imposing building has now dragged on for more than 30 years.

The secretary of state told La Libre Belgique that he wants to link the renovation of the Justice Palace to a modernisation of the operations which take place there. "We have the largest justice palace in the world,” Michel told the newspaper on Saturday. “When it was built, it was a phenomenon. We need to polish its image, and through the building, also improve the image of justice itself."

"That is why this renovation is symbolic and at the same time extremely necessary,” he added. "This has gone on long enough and it is now time to move forward."

The renovation works started so long ago that a significant proportion of Belgians have never seen it without scaffolding, not even Mathieu Michel. "It has been there since 1984, and until very recently, little has happened about it,” said Michel. “I do not want to incriminate anyone, especially my predecessors, because this is an extremely complex case. But I want to move forward, and I'm making this file a priority."

Michel said that a major "mobilisation of resources" will be needed to make rapid progress on the renovation.

According to the secretary of state, about €200 million will be needed for the total renovation. Half of that will be spent on the exterior of the palace. The scaffolding on the facade could even be disassembled as early as 2023.

The remaining €100 million will be used to renovate the inside of the building. This includes cleaning and restoration, but also digitisation to bring its capabilities into the 21st century. That immense job should be completed by 2040.

Written by Nick Amies

Comments

Anon3

So barring any further delays, the entire project will have taken a mere 6 decades to complete?

Jan 4, 2021 13:29
Frank Lee

"We need to polish its image, and through the building, also improve the image of justice itself."
If Mathieu Michel thinks that the image of justice is linked to the appearance of the Poelart monstrosity, he'd do better tearing the whole thing down and asking a real architect to draw plans for a beautiful and efficient building.

Jan 4, 2021 15:29
danbruylandt

This has to be a joke, for sure!
Politicians promise... but don't fulfil their promises!

Jan 6, 2021 02:52