The Brussels Museum of Industry and Work (The former Compagnie des Bronzes site)

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The Brussels Museum of Industry and Work (The former Compagnie des Bronzes site)

Although the Compagnie des Bronzes was founded in 1854, under the name Société Corman et Cie, it was not until 1887 that its workshops were transferred to the Rue Ransfort/Ransfortstraat, within a then-thriving district nicknamed the “Belgian Manchester”. During this period, it focused on the manufacture of items in zinc, bronze, iron and other metals. This proved to be a great success and the firm’s books were soon filled with prestigious orders, from the railings for the New York Zoo to the statues for the Petit Sablon/Kleine Zavel, and from Lord Leighton’s memorial at Saint Paul’s in London to the Brabo statue in Antwerp and the statue of King Albert I on the Mont des Arts/Kunstberg. Grouped around a courtyard, the buildings, constructed between 1887 and 1912, included an assembly hall, a bronze casting hall, a smelting hall and a sculpture workshop. There is also a neo-Classical style manager’s house, which now contains the association’s offices and the turning workshop used to host exhibitions. 
After 1950 business gradually declined, with the firm finally being declared bankrupt in 1979. At the instigation of a local association, the Collectif du Vieux Molenbeek, the French-speaking Community acquired the site in the mid-1980s. 
Today, La Fonderie brings together multiple aspects of the capital’s socio-economic history: archive collections, oral testimonies, collections of objects and machines, publications and educational activities for children and adults. The industrial history of Brussels is recounted through the museum’s permanent exhibition, while the temporary exhibition, “Gender@war”, offers a social interpretation of the First World War and the societal upheavals that resulted from it, specifically in the area of gender equality. (Listed 22/05/1997)

Practical information

  • Rue Ransfort/Ransfortstraat 27
    1080 Brussels
    • Sat. & Sun. from 13h30 to 17h00
    • M
      Comte de Flandre/Graaf van Vlaanderen
    • T
      Porte de Flandre/Vlaamsepoort
    • B
      Porte de Flandre/Vlaamsepoort
    • B
      Borne/Paal