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A wine bar? Public toilets? Tell Brussels what you want to see under Place du Jeu de Balle
What do you think should be done with the Second World War bunker hidden under Place du Jeu de Balle? If you are like most of the capital’s residents, you didn’t even know it was there.
The bunker was used by Marolles residents to escape WWII bombardments. It was fitted with electricity and running water, including toilets and showers.
The bunker is in excellent condition and was classified as protected heritage nearly two years ago. But Brussels-City has done nothing with it since then.
The Brussels region’s cultural heritage department is now trying to put a little pressure on city hall to put the space to good use so that it doesn’t fall into disrepair. “If you get a building classified, you are required to take care of it,” Thierry Wauters, the director of patrimoine.brussels, told Bruzz. “Only the city of Brussels can decide what to do with the space. Right now, it’s just sitting there, so it’s not really being maintained. That leads to a risk of dilapidation.”
Potential tourist attraction
Patrimoine.brussels asked Brusseleers what they thought should be done with the space via social media. The agency wanted to share photos of the capital’s heritage sites during the quarantine, but it also has an ulterior motive: Push Brussels-City into opening up the space to concessions.
“We are reminding the city that the complex is still under there, and that it could be a very original tourist attraction,” said Wauters. “It’s made up of 300 square-metres of underground space, with two staircases that are almost perfectly intact. Why not rent it to someone?”
Ideas that have rolled in to the agency’s Facebook page are a wine bar, escape room, bicycle parking, an event centre and public toilets. Feel free to make your own suggestion.
Photo courtesy Forbiddenplaces.net/Patrimoine.brussels