Solvay Library

In 1892, Doctor Paul Héger and industrialist Ernest Solvay came up with the idea of transforming part of Léopold Park into a science city. It was in this context that Solvay had a building constructed to house an Institute of Sociology. Today, it is known as the Solvay Library. Officially opened in 1902, it is the work of architects Constant Bosmans and Henri Vandeveld. The mosaic-tiled entrance hall leads into a huge Eclectic-style reading room, itself surrounded by individual study rooms with padded doors. As was often the case at this time, nature was a major inspiration for those who designed the decor, whether it’s the foliage garlands of the frescos created by Adolphe Crespin, the preponderance of plant elements in the numerous stained glass windows or the wrought iron plant stems accentuating the guardrail, alternating with the wooden balusters. In 1967, after the Institute of Sociology and other scientific institutes moved to the edge of the Université Libre de Bruxelles’ Solbosch campus, the library was home to the university’s Éditions de l’Université publications office until 1981. The building then remained vacant until 1993, when the government of the Brussels-Capital Region handed it over to SDRB, the Brussels Regional Development Company (now known as Citydev.brussels) for renovation. Meticulously restored by the Deleuze, Metzger et Associés architectural firm, it was reopened on 27 May 1994. Since then, the company Edificio has been responsible for running the venue, breathing new life into the premises through the hosting of activities such as conventions, galas, symposiums, concerts, press conferences, private events, conferences, birthday parties, etc. (Listed 08/08/1988)

Guided tours available all day (last group at 16h15). In cooperation with Arkadia and Pro Velo.
Exhibition of photographs “Nature in the city (artists: Enrico Turci and Majlinda Agaj).
Exhibition “Parzifal”, paintings of Elio Casalino, notary and painter. In cooperation with Edificio.

Practical information

  • parc Léopold – rue Belliard 137
    1000 Brussels
    • Saturday and Sunday from 10h00 to 17h00 (last admission at 16h15)
      access is only permitted on guided tours (20 people per group)
    • M
      Maelbeek/Maalbeek
    • B
      Parc Léopold/Leopoldspark