Roi Baudoin Stadium: A Historic Site (1/2)
Located on the Heysel plateau, in the Laeken area, north of Brussels, Roi Baudoin Stadium , formerly known as Centennial Stadium and before that Heysel Stadium, was inaugurated in 1930. It hosts sporting events and concerts, but a tragedy also took place at this stadium known as 'the Heysel tragedy'.
1930 was a historic year for Belgium, it celebrates both its independance and the inauguration of a new landmark; the Centenaire Stadium, which accommodated up to 70, 000 people. Prince Leopold was present in person on 23rd August, 1930, for the first event in the history of the stadium: The World Track Cycling Championship. At the end of the Second World War, the stadium was falling apart and the wood of the cycling track was stolem. This is when it was re-named Heysel Stadium.
70 major works were carried out on the stadium: a track was installed, as well as a new liighting system. After the Heysel Drama in 1985 (see next article 4/11), the place was fully renovated to accommodate the matches of Euro 2000, with a capacity for 50.000 seats, divided into four galleries. The cost of these works was estimated at 37 million euros. Linked since its opening to the Royal family, in 1993 the stadium was renamed "Roi Baudoin Stadium' in honour of the monarch who died that year.
The legend of this place was born thanks to the various events hosted heree: a famed boxing match between Cyrille Delannoit and Marcel Cerdan in 1948, the final of the Champions League in 1958, 1966, 1974 and 1985 and two European Championships in 1972 and 2000. Major concerts have also been organized here like that of the Rolling Stones, U2, Madonna, Celine Dion, Genesis and more....
November 4th will follow the Heysel Drama.
Text Julien Antinoff
Translation Karen Athwal