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Exhibitions to remember: Brussels celebrates anniversary of the end of the Great War

From September 2018, Brussels will celebrate the anniversary of the end of the Great War with a selection of exhibitions. A good occasion to focus on the timeless character of values like liberty, solidarity, social cohesion, the concept of a motherland, independence and democracy.

Brussels experienced the war as the occupied capital of Belgium. Although it did not become a battleground like other places in Belgium did, it played and still plays a central role as the Belgian capital with a global reach, being the headquarters of many institutions and home to many journalists.

During the Great War, Brussels was not a theatre of war; there were no trenches. It was the occupied capital of a country marked to its core by the global conflict. It also witnessed at first hand the social divide caused by the war and the profound upheavals that society underwent.

With the creation of the Monument to the Unknown Soldier, Brussels is the only place where a national tribute was paid to victims of the First World War.

It is important to keep alive the memory of what the war was. 1914-1918 must forever serve as the foundation of the democracy of tomorrow. The idea is to collectively draw from what we learnt from the First World War and to pursue the construction of a democratic Europe with Brussels as its capital.

Today, 100 years after the end of the Great War, Brussels is celebrating the anniversary of the end of the occupation and giving us the chance to immerse ourselves into that time to better understand how these events were instrumental in changing attitudes and building the democracy and institutions we have today.


[email protected] 1914-1918. Femmes et Hommes en guerre ([email protected] 1914-1918. Women and Men at War)

11 November, 1918. Armistice is declared. The crowds cheer and applaud the end of the war. On the occasion of the one hundredth anniversary of the end of the First World War, La Fonderie is presenting the exhibition designed for the Archive and Research Centre for Women’s History (CARHIF), [email protected] 1914.1918, along with some new original pieces. The exhibition adapts well to La Fonderie, offering a social perspective on the war, whose sheer scale and extreme violence still arouse deep emotions. The First World War revolutionized society, which had been inherited from the 19th century. Especially when it came to gender equality and the division of labor. Nothing would be the same again. Using examples from four different countries (Germany, Belgium, France and the UK), the exhibition explores the close relationship between the military and home fronts and the consequences for gender roles.

Venue: La Fonderie – Musée bruxellois des industries et du travail

Date: 06/05/2008 > 21/10/2018

Au-delà de la Grande Guerre : 1918-1928 (Beyond the Great War: 1918 -1928)

In the exhibition “Beyond the Great War: 1918-1928”, the War Heritage Institute makes an in-depth exploration of several major themes such as the final offensive, the liberation, the postwar period and the geopolitical revolutions, but also economic reconstruction, the grieving process and commemoration, and socio-political and sociocultural changes.

The exhibition includes some exceptional pieces from the rich collections of the WHI and national and international museums. 1920s backdrops and items from the “Années folles” (the “Roaring Twenties”) as well as interactive tools hold their share of surprises and emotions for the visitor.

Venue : Musée royal de l’Armée et d’Histoire Militaire (War Heritage Institute)

Date: 21/09/2018 > 22/09/2019

Beyond Klimt

The end of the First World War and of the Austro-Hungarian Empire marked the start of a new series of major artistic developments. The political and economic changes led to migrations of artists, as well as ideas and new perspectives. Artists developed new networks, met each other in artistic centers through international associations, and used magazines to communicate across political borders. They put their artistic identity before their nationality. In this exhibition, you can explore a mutating central Europe through the eyes of Gustav Klimt,
Josef Capek, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka, László Moholy-Nagy and 75 other artists

Venue : BOZAR

Dates : 21/09/2018 > 20/01/2019

Bruxelles, novembre 1918. De la guerre à la paix ? (Brussels, November 1918. From war to peace?)
11 November 1918 marked the end of the Great War. For Brussels, this was the end of an occupation which had lasted nearly 50 months. Through historic photos, film archives and items of the period, the exhibition plunges us into the torments of Brussels in 1918, caught between managing public health and coping with the placement of refugees and the return of combatants and exiles, and the need to establish peace in society and to organize a new democracy.

Venue: Belvue Museum

Date: 26/09/2018 > 06/01/2019

Berlin 1912 – 1932

The “Berlin 1912 – 1932” exhibition focuses on the politicized art and the urban challenges between 1912 and 1932 in this modern but war-ravaged metropolis. The key movements and creative minds of this gripping period are brought to life again through paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs and films by artists such as Otto Dix, Raul Hausmann, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Kazimir Malevitch, Alexander Rodchenko, etc.

Venue: Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique [Royal Museums of the Fine Arts of Belgium]

Dates: 05/10/2018 > 27/01/2019


One hundred years after the First World War, the Belgian National Orchestra is performing War Requiem by Flemish composer Annelies Van Parys. The war rhetoric of the aggressor resonates in the German libretto by Dea Loher. Accompanied by the Collegium Vocale, Belgian soprano Sophie Karthäuser and German baritone Thomas Bauer will voice the fears and hopes of the lost generation of 1914-1918. Also, on the program: Symphony no. 5 Gustav Mahler. The concert will take place as part of Belgium’s national commemorations of the First World War.

Venue : BOZAR

Date : 11/11/2018, 15:00


Seven actors present poems and prose from the period from 1914-1918. They symbolize seven languages, seven soldiers, seven nations or powers. Two masters of ceremonies will tell the story of the war in both French and Dutch. What happened before? And what happened after? This multimedia and multilingual portrayal uses words, images and music to present the Great War, which violently opened the 20th century and whose shadow still looms today.

While the last eyewitnesses disappear among indifference, these stories must be told before they are forgotten forever.

Venue: BOZAR

Date: 11/11/2018, 20:00

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