A very royal destination: Royal Library of Belgium in Brussels

In 'hellhole' Brussels on the Mont des Arts, near the Central Railway Station,
one of the most interesting places of Belgium is located:
the Royal Library of Belgium. 

Royal Library of Belgium in Brussels - own picture

Some Royal history

The library was founded in 1837 by the young Belgian state and it 
was open for public in 1839.

However the real history of the collection went further back in
time. 

The collection dates back to the Dukes of Burgundy who became the
rulers of the Low Countries. There are books and manuscripts which
belonged to Philip the Bold, John the Fearless, Philip the Good and
Charles the Bold. 












































































Philip the Bold, John the Fearless, Philip the Good and Charles the Bold
were the Valois Dukes of Burgundy. Source pictures: Wikipedia

When Charles the Bold died, the collection already contained 950 volumes,
around 270 of them were held in the Manuscripts Department in Brussels.
Another 120 can be found elsewhere in Europe. 

After the death of Charles the Bold his collection went to his daughter
Mary of Burgundy, later to Philip the Handsome, Emperor Charles V and
to his son, Philip II of Spain.

King Philip II of Spain founded on 12 April 1559 the Royal Library of the
Low Countries. This was the predecessor of the present Royal Library of
Belgium.

In 1748, French troops occupied Brussels, they transferred around half the
collection to Paris, though most of these volumes were returned in 1770.

Between 1839 and 1953 the Manuscript Department acquired another 11,000
volumes. Some of them where Medieval works but others dated from the 16th,
17th and 18th century. 

Royal Library of Belgium in Brussels - own picture


The collection

The current collection contains:

400,000 books;
21,500 magazines;
150,000 maps;
32,000 manuscripts;
700,000 pictures;
and much more.


The building

Originally the Royal Library of Belgium was founded in a former palace of
Charles of Lorraine. 

In 1935, at the request of Queen Elisabeth I of Belgium and her son, King
Leopold III of Belgium, plans for a new Royal Library were drawn. 

In 1953 King Baudouin laid the first stone of the new Royal Library.
In 1969 its official inauguration took place.

The building itself is impressive though in a very modern style.

On 5 June 2018 there was a BENELUX gathering in Brussels.
King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg
and King Philippe  of Belgium were photographed on top of the Mont des Arts,
on the opposite of the Royal Library of Belgium. To see this picture, check this
link.

Mont des Arts in Brussels - own picture taken in 2012



King Albert I of Belgium in front of the Royal Library of Belgium in Brussels
own picture


For more information, check the official site of the Royal Library of belgium on
this link


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