Solvay Library (fully booked)
Inaugurated in 1902, the Solvay Library was designed by architects Constant Bosmans and Henri Vandeveld. The building originally housed a sociology institute, which was intended to become part of a science park, as doctor Paul Héger and industrialist Ernest Solvay had been planning to create such a complex in that part of Parc Léopold/Leopoldspark for around a decade. When the sociology institute moved to the edge of the Solbosch university campus in 1967, the building was taken over by the publishing house of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Les Éditions de l’Université, which occupied the premises until 1981. As no new occupant came forward at that point, the building was purchased by the Brussels-Capital Region and painstakingly restored. The Solvay Library reopened on 27 May 1994 under the management of a company called Edificio, and has since served as an elegant backdrop for many events. The entrance hall, with its mosaic floor, affords access to a huge reading room decorated in the eclectic style, itself surrounded by individual study rooms with padded doors. As was often the case at the time of the Library’s construction, the decor is very much inspired by the natural world. The predominantly red wall frescoes attributed to Adolphe Crespin are adorned with leafy garlands, while plant motifs are heavily featured in the building’s many stained-glass windows and celadon-green wrought-iron rails line the balustrade, alternating with the wooden balusters. (Listed since 8 August 1988)
Guided tours, Sat. & Sun. at 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00 and 17:00 (French), 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 13:30, 14:30, 15:30, 16:30 and 17:30 (Dutch). In cooperation with Itinéraires, sur les Sentiers de l’Histoire and Klare Lijn.
Sat. & Sun., 10:00 to 18:00
Parc Léopold/Leopoldspark, Rue Belliard/Belliardstraat 137, Brussels-Extensions
Guided tours only – advance booking required