Mont des Arts or Kunstberg Brussels
The Mont des Arts or Kunstberg is a square in the historical center of Brussels city. Because Brussels is a bilingual city all places have two names, a French and a Flemish (Dutch) name. In English, you could call it the Art Mountain. The square is actually built on de Koudenberg, the oldest historical remains of the city. Mont des Arts is situated between the Place Royale or Koningsplein and the downtown part of the city including the Grand Place. Between the 15th and 18th century Mont des Arts or Kunstberg was called Hofberg.
At the end of the 19th century, King Leopold II had the idea to redesign the Hofberg district to create a new cultural heart for the at that time young nation. It was his plan to create an Art Mountain. Several architects and city planners devised various plans to transform the site into a real art quarter. Architect Henri Maquet designed a colossal building to house many cultural institutions. But because of financial problems and a lack of support from the state, the urban renewal project stopped after the demolishing of the old Hofberg houses. For eight years the grounds were unused.
In 1908 King Leopold II ordered the Parisian architect Pierre Vacherot to design a temporary park for the World Fair of 1910. It was a park with a monumental staircase hall, equipped with fountains, waterfalls, and sculptures. In 1910, a year after the death of Leopold II, the new park was inaugurated by the new King Albert I.
After the death of King Albert I the plan to finish the original Art Mountain plans was reconsidered. The immediate reason for this was the building of a new Royal Library, the Albertina library in honor of the deceased King, Also a Congress Palace and a Dynasty Palace were built. The current Mont des Arts is created on a design by Jules Ghobert, the Albertina library was designed by Maurice Houyoux and his successor Roland Delers.
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