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Exploring the eclectic style in Brussels! 

The eclectic style was created in the nineteenth century and changed the colour of the city as well as making a deep impression on architectural techniques. During the eclectic period (1830-1914), the unprecedented growth of the capital city of the newly independent Belgium led to the eclectic style gaining a prominent place in the Brussels cityscape, on the one hand through rows of new houses of an astonishing diversity and on the other through the construction of majestic public buildings that imposed new, symbolic views on the city. 

The architecture of the ancient world was an inexhaustible source of inspiration and a pretext for the free and creative eclectic style, whose architects remained fully aware of their influences. During this period, Belgium rediscovered its historic buildings and began looking for inspiration for the architectural expression and affirmation of new ideas. The eclectic-style monuments dedicated to the glory of the new country wanted to be iconic. The Palace of Justice in Brussels alone expresses this extraordinary desire to reinvent architecture based on tried and tested designs… and in unprecedentedly large proportions! 

Next to these extraordinary monuments, eclectic-style family houses were rapidly built in every district of the city, giving our region its specific urban identity. This unbelievable urbanisation, developed around the model family home, boosted the eclectic movement, which sought to reconcile a desire for individual expression with a respect for history. The facades of these houses and mansions clearly demonstrate the freedom with which the eclectic architects interpreted and blended styles in a constant quest for new shapes and colours, often expressed in a pronounced taste for the picturesque. The reappearance of gables, which gave an individual look to each house, bear witness to this aspiration. 

The eclectic movement allowed architectural creativity to be used in the service of the city… and the street, united and dramatised by this diversity, became a museum.


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