Today, I was dispatched to buy a kettle. This is possible the most stereotypical intern assignments I’ve had. It did, however, see me pass the Martyrs Square on my way to an elctrical goods shop.
This square is a fantastic example of the pretty architecture which is hidden away in the backstreets of Brussels.
At one end of the square is the official residence of the Flemish Prime Minister. I’m not sure what the building at the other end is, but judging from the flags outside it, it’s also something to do with the Flemish Government.
The statue in the centre of the square (which is on a plinth within a sunken area decorated with carvings) is dedicated to those who died in the Belgian Revolution of 1830. This revolt led to the independence of Belgium from the Netherlands. In a somewhat unfortunate twist, it also led to the suppression of Flemish language and culture in favour of the Francophone culture during the 19th century. It wasn’t until the 20th century that Flemish gained government recognition in Belgium.
It’s also somewhere that I have very fond memories of. Mostly because the first time I visited it was at about 2AM in the middle of a wonderfully cold winter night. The bar on the corner of the square had a live Jazz band on and it’s doors and windows open, letting the music drift across the square. Coupled with the poor street lighting, it was like something out of a film noir. All very romantic.
I throughly encourage people visiting Brussels to get off the beaten trail and look for places like this. There are all sorts of wonderful hidden places in the backstreets of Brussels.