Did you know that Brussels is home to several sections of the infamous Berlin Wall. This physical and ideological border would, for almost 30 years, symbolise the intractable division within the European continent: between liberal democracies and communist regimes.
In addition to dividing Europe, it also harks back to the Cold War and a global hiatus.
Nowadays, sections of the Wall can be found all over Europe and even beyond. There are pieces in Strasbourg, Tallinn, Reykjavik, New York, Seoul and... Brussels, of course!
You’ll find four original sections of the Berlin Wall in Brussels. Two are showcased near the entrance to the European Parliament, by Léopold Park. They have stood there since 2021, each encased in a glass box, the result of a project to protect them co-organised by the Belgian State, the Brussels-Capital Region and the European Parliament.
While a lot of the graffiti was applied when the Wall divided Berlin in two, artists continued to decorate the Wall after it fell. The segment on the left displays a reminder of an international sporting event held in Switzerland in 1994: the 100m world-record time, which was set by an American athlete.
But how did these pieces of the Wall get there? One of them was donated by the city of Berlin to the European capital in 2004. The second arrived in Brussels in 2009, as part of the celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall. On this occasion, ten sections of the former dividing line were installed in Brussels, on Place du Luxembourg. A few months later, all but a few returned to Germany.
This dichotomy between the values defended by Europe - unity, togetherness, the rejection of division - and the situation in Berlin and Germany, which until 1989 was characterised by separation and partition, is quite remarkable!