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Old England department store in Brussels

The "Old England" department store is built in an Art Nouveau style and is located on the Hofberg in Brussels. It was designed by architect Paul Saintenoy and engineer E. Wyhovski.

Picture by Pixabay

The department store of the British firm was built in 1899 as an extension of the existing branch in the former Hotel Spangen. Before that time it was very progressive due to the use of a cast iron and steel construction and lots of glass. This optimally utilized the incidence of light. The reinforced concrete floors were only 8 cm thick and rested on a grid of iron beams that themselves were supported by slender cross-shaped columns of forged iron.


The beautiful corner tower is also characteristic. For the construction, 250 tons of steel from the Forges de Clabecq and 700 square meters of mirrors were used. Friezes were applied in faience and many floral motifs. Julien Dillens made the sculptures.

Picture by Pixabay

The Old England company left the building in 1972. In 1978 it was purchased by the Belgian state to be used as a museum, but the restoration started only in 1989. Since 2000, the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) has been located in the building. In addition, the visitor can enjoy the view of the Brussels lower city on the roof terrace.

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