Interior of Horta Museum in Brussels, Source: Pascal Smet

Brussels unveils strategy to become Art Nouveau capital

Brussels unveils strategy to become Art Nouveau capital

Also, a themed pass makes Art Nouveau sites more accessible

On 10 June, World Art Nouveau Day, the regional government of Brussels presented details on its intention to become the world capital of Art Nouveau. A regional strategy previews various forms of promotion of the arts and architecture style in Brussels, including the designation of 2023 as the year of Art Nouveau, the launch of an online guide and the establishment of an ART NOUVEAU PASS for visitors.

Valourisation of the Art Nouveau heritage of Brussels

The strategy will revolve around the following main axes:

  • Identify, protect and restore - Inventory work concerning both tangible and intangible heritage will continue. Several buildings such as Bloemenwerf House, Cauchie House, Hôtel Solvay, Hôtel Van Eetvelde, Hôtel Frison, Stoclet Palace, Beukman House, Hôtel Hannon will be intensely renovated.
  • Support and promotion of Art Nouveau museums and institutions in Brussels - The regional authorities will continue to support, in particular financially, the various museums and institutions in Brussels promoting Art Nouveau.
  • Strengthen the education of young people – likewise, the Region will support initiatives allowing collaboration between educational services of different museums and associations, in particular for annual events (such as summer internship) or school projects.
  • Opening of Hotel Hannon – scheduled to open its doors to the public in early 2022.
  • Strengthening of guided tours and the opening of new properties - Guided tours of the public properties will be stepped up and the year 2023 will offer a special edition of the BANAD Festival. Furthermore, new properties are expected to open, including the Bloemenwerf, built in 1895 by Henry van de Velde, and the Beukman House, built in 1900 by Albert Roosenboom.
  • Visibility on the web – an Art Nouveau site will concentrate throughout the present year and 2022 more of what Brussels has on offer. (set to start this autumn) will allow visitors to discover Art Nouveau interiors that are inaccessible to the general public.
  • Developing digitization and immersive experiences – Virtual visits will be developed, in particular through the digitization of the Stoclet Palace and the development of an immersive experience around it.
  • Establishing Brussels as the international capital of Art Nouveau – finally, the Region should become the main driving force of the Art Nouveau Network – a European network of specialists, established in 1991. Also, a new traveling exhibition will be created.

The Art Nouveau pass

Pascal Smet, State Secretary for urbanism, put forward the creation of ART NOUVEAU PASS with the objective to enhance the visibility of the region as the cradle of Art Nouveau and to facilitate the access to this heritage.

The pass is already available for purchase on ART NOUVEAU URBAN BRUSSELS  and will make the visit to some pre-selected sites more accessible, especially from a financial standpoint. These are the Autrique House, the Cauchie House, the Horta Museum, the Solvay Hotel, the MIM - Museum of Musical Instruments, the Belgian Comic Strip Center and the Wolfers Frères jewelry store (Art & History Museum).

2023 – the year of Art Nouveau

On top of all that, it has already been decided to organize a year devoted to Art Nouveau in 2023. In the coming months many Brussels, Belgian and international partners will work together on the programme. The goal is to organise expositions and meetings, but also – to open new buildings to the public.

In order to put this Art Nouveau strategy into practice, a series of actions will be implemented by the teams. Prime Minister of Brussels-Capital Region Rudi Vervoort commented on the occasion: “Brussels is undeniably the capital of Art Nouveau. As early as 1890, great architects like Horta broke the codes and created a total art which then influenced all artistic forms.

These artists have enchanted the streets of Brussels for more than a century, where you can discover no less than 400 buildings. From real estate to furniture and decorative objects, from crockery to haute couture, everything becomes curves and arabesques, flora and fauna, colours and light. It is therefore essential to continue to preserve, enhance and transmit the history and aesthetics of this exceptional heritage to as many people as possible”.

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