Open Churches Festival
Brussels is a multifaceted environment, that offers a great variety of amusements and events all year around.
Nonetheless, one great attraction the city offers for free is its architecture and its cultural heritage. It’s easy to recognize the different historical and architectural styles just by taking a stroll in the city. The most striking design is probably the art deco and art nouveau one, that dominates the city from the Grand Place to the outer suburbs. From the Belgian revolution on, Brussels started to expand and develop very quickly, absorbing the newest trends, attracting creativity from all over Europe and reflecting more and more the importance the city was acquiring at an international level. Brussels was becoming the centre of innovation, promoting technology and art; the middle class was investing especially in art, reshaping the image of the city with gorgeous buildings in art deco and nouveau style, which still characterize the streets of the capital. The push to innovation and change keeps being a central element in the development of the city, that presents modern and dynamic skyscrapers and constructions close to older ones, combining past and tradition with modernity.
Among the various smaller artistic trends that combined in the city, it is still possible to spot the Flemish gothic, neogothic and classicism around. A good way of getting to know these styles is visiting the many churches scattered around Brussels: they represent a concrete witness of the passing of time and of the adaptation of the city to different historical periods and mindsets. The perfect occasion for these tours will be the weekend of the 3rd and 4th of June. In fact the city promotes a program called “Open Churches”, that allows people to visit several of these religious buildings, many of which are usually closed to the public. The event also aims to enhance and promote Belgian’s religious heritage and history.
Since the city is vast and the choice is wide, we propose three possible churches for your weekend strolls around Brussels: the first one is Eglise Saint-Pierre, in Jette. Built in 1880 in neo-gothic style, this first church offers antique furniture from the 15th and 19th century, like baptismal fonts and confessionals. It will offer a guided tour for families and organ concerts. The second option is the Eglise Saint-Antoine de Padoue in Etterbeek. It was built in the first half of the 20th century in neo-gothic style and it is characterized by a suggestive and impressive size. On Sunday 4th at 11:15 it will host a multicultural celebration, gathering the francophone, Hispanic and Flemish communities. The last church of the list is l’Eglise Saint-Jacques-sur-Coudenberg, in the centre of Brussels. The church, whose first ruins are from the 12th century, is in pure 18th century classical style and perfectly matches the balanced order of Place Royal, in which it is situated. It will be open for tours on Sunday, from 12h to 17:30.
The “Open Churches” event is a great occasion, not just to learn more about art and architecture, but especially to wander around the city and access its most hidden spots.