Category Archives: Groothaert

The 19th century in Brussels: 1891

Readers will notice that one of the pictures in this post shows a memorial at the house where José Rizal, the hero of the Philippine’s independence, lived during his stay in Brussels. The house is located in rue Philippe de Champagne.

There is also a picture with the signature of architect Alphonse Groothaert. He was an art nouveau architect who designed a number of houses in Brussels, but also in Arlon. Here is the link to a website devoted to this architect. By the way, when looking at the contents of this website I noticed that the authors claim that A. Groothaert designed the Old Belgian consulate (Palais de la Legation) in Seoul while the website of the Cultural Heritage of Seoul mentions a Japanese architect as being the designer of the building.

In 1891 King Leopold II charged William Grant Stairs, a Canadian, with the exploration of the Katanga region. Zanzibar was the departing point of the expedition.

Also in  1891 Belgium signed a commercial treaty with Germany and Austria.  In Germany General Alfred von Schlieffen prepared the plan (to invade France) bearing his name. It seems that in that year Germany sent an ultimatum to Belgium asking for free passage for German troops should this plan be carried out.

On May 15 of 1891 Pope Leo XII, a former nuncio in Belgium, issues the Rerum Novarum encyclical.  This encyclical had a tremendous impact in Europe’s social movements. In Belgium Cardinal Cardijn (see my post on 28 August 2011 on 1919) launched a number of initiatives to improve the condition of the working class.

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