Palace of Fine Arts: a Cultural House

Julien Antinoff
Editor Made in Brussels
25th November 2013

Designed by architect Victor Horta, The Palace of Fine Arts in Brussels took six years to construct. This space is dedicated to culture and the arts; dance, theatre, music, literature, architecture, cinema....

In 1880, the first Palace of Fine Arts, designed by Alphonse Balat, was inaugurated . A few years later, the decision was made to build a new venue to house ancient art collections. In the aftermath of the First World War, the architect Victor Horta presented a draft design of the Palace. Initially, the government rejected the construction due to budget problems, but do men came to the financial aid of the architect; the mayor of the city Adolphe Max and musician Henry Le Boeuf. The city decided to forward with plans for the palace on the slopes of the hill Coudenberg, at the end of the Place Royale. This ambitious project had not only cultural signifance, but it also had to connect the top and bottom of Brussels. To monetize this big investment, the city asked for shops to advertise the construction in shop windows. In total, the Palace of Fine Arts has a concert hall, a theatre, a sculpture hall and exhibition halls. Receent renovations have also taken place and the new rooms were built in the basement. 


Since 2003, all the events of the Palace of Fine Arts have been signed by Bozar. This brand has the davantage of being usable in multiple languages and facilitate's communication. There are eight different Bozars:

BOZAR Architecture; open to the public, organization of exhibitions and confrences. 

BOZAR Cinema: film screenings and events exploring the connections between film, video and others. 

BOZAR Dance: international productions related to contemporary dance

BOZAR Expo: exhibitions alternating between large collections, contemporary art and creation of youth art. 

BOZAR Literature: debates, meetings, and conferences with Belgian and foreign authors. 

BOZAR Music: selection of concerts ranging from classical music to jazz and rock

BOZAR Theatre: avant-garde theatre

BOZAR Studios: art department that follows the strong points of the program 

With such diversity on offer, the Palace of Fine Arts receives over a million visitors per year. 

Text Julien Antinoff

Translation Karen Athwal

Photo DR


Julien Antinoff
Editor Made in Brussels
25th November 2013

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