Belgium

Maison Horta, Brussels, Belgium © MRBC IRPA KIK

House and workshop of Victor Horta

The house and studio of the Belgian architect Victor Horta were erected between 1898 and 1901. Located in the heart of the Brussels municipality of Saint-Gilles, the home and studio are characteristic of Art Nouveau at its peak and illustrate Victor Horta’s ingeniosity and expertise. Originally built to meet family and professional needs, the building now houses the Horta Museum. The interior of the building, which was designed by the architect, has been preserved and offers visitors a harmonious ensemble with a remarkable combination of various materials. The house and studio are the illustration of the architectural design advocated by Victor Horta, a concept in which light plays a central role, as evidenced by the vast glass ceiling of the main staircase of the building, and where the open plan is adopted to ensure unity in the architecture of the building.

The design of the house is also original because, despite the narrowness of the plot it occupies, it breaks with the current arrangement of the three adjoining rooms on the ground floor in that it privileges a provision revolving around three staircases that separate the house from the studio. This design of the house, while allowing easy connection with the studio, provides a separation between the parts reserved for the representation and those used for residential purposes .

The house and studio of Victor Horta is one of the four major town houses designed by the Belgian architect, which represent the most remarkable innovative architectural works of the late nineteenth century. As such, they were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2000 : Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta (Brussels).

Neolithic flint mines at Spiennes, Belgium © UNESCO

Neolithic flint mines at Spiennes (Mons)

The Neolithic flint mines of Spiennes are located near the town of Mons in Belgium and cover about one hundred hectares. Mining occupy two chalky plateaus separated by the Valley of the Trouille, a tributary of the Haine river. The Uplands, said "Little Spienne" or Spiennes "Pa d’la l’lau" (beyond the waters) located on the left bank culminate at an altitude of 77 meters.

The plateau on the opposite bank, called the "Camp-à-Cayaux" (pebble field) presents the same topography and reaches an altitude of 92 meters. On the site of "Camp-à-Cayaux", a building was erected in the early twentieth century (renovated in 2003) to host the museum site.

The flint extraction was performed at the mine site of Spiennes mainly during the Middle Neolithic and early final Neolithic, and intensively in open quarries, pits or, more remarkably, in operation galleries located between 8 and 16 meters below ground. As a result of this exploitation, the site contains underground a vast network of tunnels connected to the surface by narrow wells dug by man during the Neolithic period. We can count on the site more than 20,000 wells and galleries that reflect the exploitation of flint and millions of elements obtained from flint cutting.

Even today, the effect of this subterranean exploitation is perceptible; the site surface is a vast expanse of meadows and fields littered with millions of flints. The Neolithic flint mines of Spiennes, because of the sheer nature of the techniques used for extraction, and insofar as those are the largest and oldest mining centers of extraction in Europe, have also been included on the World Heritage List in 2000.

Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex, Belgium © UNESCO

The Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex and the Business Archives of the Officina Plantiniana

The Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex is a printing and publishing house dating from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, which since 1877 also houses a museum. Located in Antwerp, Belgium, the complex is closely linked to the history of the invention and spread of typography. Besides its architectural value, the building houses a large collection of artifacts reflecting the life and work in the most prolific printing plant and publishing house in Europe in the late fifteenth century.

 

The complex, which remained in operation until 1867, contains a large collection of old printing equipment, an extensive library, invaluable archives and works of art - tapestries and paintings - 21 of which are signed by the hand of the famous Flemish Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens.

The Plantin-Moretus monument stands out among Antwerp complex buildings of the time thanks to its organic and functional development ensuring a harmonious continuity between the place of production, the presentation and sale of products and the premises intended for personnel use. Each period of construction, since the first stone laid in 1576 to the restorations conducted after the Second World War, is still readable, reflecting the architectural richness of the monument.

A witness of the beginning of printing in Europe, the Plantin-Moretus Complex, because of its unique architecture and its priceless archives, was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2005.

 

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