Masonic temple of the Cercle des Amis Philanthropes
Once home to the studio of King Leopold II’s official court photographer Louis Ghémar, the building was converted in 1877 into the base for the Cercle des Amis Philanthropes (literally the ‘Circle of Philanthropic Friends’). Its side façade, while more richly ornamented, blends in seamlessly with the rest of Place des Martyrs/Martelaarsplein. The interior, however, is full of surprises, as architect Adolphe Samyn, who had already designed another Masonic lodge, the Loge du Travail in Verviers, came up with two Egyptian-style temples for the Amis Philanthropes. The decor was designed by Gustave Janlet, who produced the decorative paintings, Alban Chambon, who took care of the sculpted ornaments, and Louis Delbeke, who painted the historical and symbolic scenes under the supervision of Jan Verhas. Drawing direct inspiration from Ancient Egypt, the Great Temple is lined with columns featuring campaniform and hathoric capitals, against the backdrop of rearing cobras (uraei) and winged solar discs. This temple was completely restored in 2015. In the Middle Temple, papyriform columns separated panels painted with Masonic scenes or compositions depicting plants. This truly iconic site hosts meetings of members of lodges derived from the Amis Philanthropes, which was founded in 1798, making it one of the oldest Masonic lodges in Brussels, and forms part of the Grand Orient of Belgium as well as many different lodges of obedience. Its members pursue various ideals by means of a well-organised network. (Listed 22/10/1998)
Explanations on site.
Conference: Sat. & Sun. at 11:00 and 16:00 (in French); 14:30 (in Dutch).
Sat. & Sun., 10:00 to 18:00
Rue du Persil/Peterseliestraat 8, Brussels
By reservation only
Accessible with assistance