The two buildings known as ‘octroi pavilions’ were built in the most traditional neoclassical style to the plans of architect Antoine Payen between 1835 and 1836. The main façades, which face each other, feature an axial porch under a triangular pediment. Artist Joseph Geefs sculpted a figure personifying Brussels on one façade and a counterpart symbolising Commerce on the other. These buildings were used to collect octrois, a duty or tax charged on goods entering the city. Since 1988, they have housed the City of Brussels’ Sewer Museum, explaining the history and development of a network that grew from 45 kilometres in 1847 to 110 kilometres by 1878 and now totals 350 kilometres. The museum’s tours attract many visitors curious to find out more, giving them the chance to access one of the channels of the Zenne river, whose covering over was a key milestone in the development of the Belgian capital, and also the large Chaussée de Mons/Bergensesteenweg collector, which is still in use. They reveal the history of the Brussels sewerage network – which every day takes in thousands of cubic metres of wastewater as well as clear (i.e. unpolluted) water from drains or infiltration from the water table – and how this system works. They also give visitors a better understanding of the maintenance required for this system, some sections of which are 200 years old! (Listed 22/04/1999)
Guided tours: Sat. & Sun. at 12:30 and 14:00 (in French); 11:00 (in Dutch).
Fun activity “Officers 7.5 and 7.5”. Readers of the Hergé comic series Quick and Flupke will be familiar with Officer 15, but there are also Officers 7.5 and 7.5. Throughout the day, they will lead an outdoor activity revolving around the Sewer Museum’s octroi pavilions.
Sat. & Sun., 10:00 to 17:00
Porte d’Anderlecht/Anderlechtsepoort, Brussels
By reservation only