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Newly lit Congress Column to debut on National Day

18:17 17/07/2020

The Congress Column will once again be bathed in a glow of lights, starting on the evening of 21 July, National Day. The monument, which stands between Place du Congrès and Rue Royale, is also home to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The column used to be lit during the night, but the lighting fell into disrepair a few years ago. The Belgian state’s property management division has had the lighting replaced with energy efficient LED lamps, and from 21 July, they will light up the column from sundown to sunup.

“We had to find a balance between the lighting of the column and the intimate character of the eternal flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier,” said Johan Vanderborght of the division. “That’s why we have deliberately chosen to dim the illumination on the lower part of the monument.”

The Congress Column was built by architect Joseph Poelaert in 1850 in honour of Belgium’s first national congress 20 years earlier, in which the new country’s constitution was approved. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was added to the foot of the column following the First World War. A single unidentified Belgian soldier is buried inside the tomb.

Photo courtesy Régie des Batiments

Written by Lisa Bradshaw