The Bibliotheca Wittockiana

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The Bibliotheca Wittockiana

The Bibliotheca Wittockiana was built between 1981 and 1983, on the initiative of Michel Wittock, in order to house his collection of prized bookbindings and book-related works. Wittock wanted to create a modern temple devoted to books and commissioned architect Emmanuel de Callataÿ to design the structure. The unusual building received the Belgian Architecture Award in 1988. Part of it is below ground level and its protective casing, made from shaped concrete, is now covered in ivy, causing it to blend into the surrounding natural environment. It conceals a space that is plentifully provided with light, thanks to its diagonally-shaped “arrow-slit” windows. A number of artists worked on the design of the building. Émile Veranneman was commissioned to design the furniture for the library’s old and rare books section, while artists such as Jacqueline Guillermain and Denmark created contemporary book-related works of art to decorate the entire property. In 1996, an additional floor was added to the building; a light metal and glass structure, wide and open, it was designed by the architect Charly Wittock, the youngest son of the library’s founder. 
Today, the collection and the building in which it is housed are owned by the King Baudouin Foundation, in order to ensure its long-term conservation.

Practical information

  • Rue du Bemel/Bemelstraat 23
    1150 Brussels
    • Sat. from 10h00 to 14h00 Sun. from 10h00 to 17h00
    • B
      Chant d’Oiseau/Vogelzang