Jubilee Park & Triumphal Arch
The Jubilee Park (Parc du Cinquantenaire in French, Jubelpark in Dutch) was named for 50-year anniversary of the independence of Belgium in 1880. It marks the border between the EU quarter and the municipality of Etterbeek.
Visitors are greeted by a monumental Triumphal Arch, built by Leopold II in 1900 for the 70th anniversary of the country's independence. The triple arch is 30 metres in height on 45 metres in width, making it the widest triumphal arch in the world, and the second tallest after the Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile (51m high) in Paris. The arch is prolonged by a semi-circular gallery lined with classical columns and frescoes reminding of ancient Rome.
The park itself was laid in an intermediate Franco-British classical style, with broad alleys and well-lined trees (French style), as well as neoclassical statues and temples (British style).
Note that the north-west corner of the park is occupied by the National Mosque of Belgium (the largest in the country), right next to the copy of a pagan Greco-Roman temple. This has caused dismay of some Belgians, who see it as a provocation of the Muslim community to Europe's historical past and values, with a barely dissimulated irony as the park is supposed to commemorate the independence of Belgium and Belgian nationalism at its apex.
On each side of the triumphal arch stands imposing structures. The hangar-like northern section houses the Army Museum and Autoworld Museum.
The neoclassical southern building is home to the Royal Museums of Art and History, one of Brussels' largest and most interesting museums, along with the Royal Fine Arts Museum near the Royal Palace.
Following Tervuren Avenue for about one kilometre from the Jubilee Park, you will reach the Stocklet Palace. Added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2009, it is considered to be one of the most refined and luxurious private houses of the 20th century.
It was built by Austrian architect Josef Hoffmann between 1905 and 1911 and houses an impressive collection of Modernist works by Gustav Klimt, Franz Metzner and other artists of the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements.
Unfortunatley it is not open to the public at the moment (although this should change with the accession to the World Heritage).
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