27/11/2022

1910, Brussels BE – Exposition Universelle et Internationale de Bruxelles

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1910 Brussels

Name:Exposition Universelle et Internationale de Bruxelles
Dates:23 Apr– 7 Nov 1910
Days:198 days
Venue:south-west of the Solbosch park,
north-west of the Bois de la Cambre
– 88 ha (220 acres)
Theme:80th anniversary of Belgium’s independence
Works of Art and Science, Agricultural and
Industrial Products of All Nations
Exhibitors:27,510 – 32 countries and 8 Colonies
Awards:19,574 medals
Visitors:13,000,000 inc 11m season tickets, admission 20 centimes
Legacy:Expenses were 17m BFR ($3.5m) – and it lost 100,000 BFr.

King Albert was the patron, le Comte de Smet de Naeyer, minister of finance and public works, supervised the organisation of the event. The executive committee was chaired by Emile de Mot, George Dupret and Maurice Lemonnier.

The site for this event was Solbosch park, near the Bois de la Cambre, it would also be used for Expo ‘58 (1958). Brussels’ Hotel Astoria was built for the show, today it is a protected monument and part of the site of Brussels University.

Brussels World's Fair 1910
1910 Brussels Grand Palais during a ceremony

The Fine Arts section was at Centenaire Park. The feature focused on Flemish Art, but had also borrowed works from France including three works from each of Monet, Renoir and Rodin, and two works of Matisse. There was also a significant display of modern works.

1901 Brussels postcard

Heavy neo-baroque architecture was plentiful, for example the altarpiece of the St. Jan Berchmans Church in Brussels was on show.

The only building of note was considered to be the large Machinery Hall which provided 23,700 sq m of exhibition space. There was a Congress Hall for major gatherings.

1910 Brussels overview

Exhibits were categorised in twenty-two categories, each with its own judging panel – Agriculture, Army & Navy, Art, Chemical Industries, Colonies, Decorative Arts, Education, Electricity, Engineering, Literature, Mining, Science, Social Economy, Textiles, Woman’s Labour…

Brussels World's Fair 1910 Poster
Brussels World's Fair of 1910 Poster
1910 Brussels posters

Countries exhibiting: Argentina, Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain and Ireland, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Persia, Peru, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, United States and Uruguay.

China Pavilion, Brussels World's Fair of 1910
Belgian pavilion

Belgian cities exhibiting were Antwerp, Brussels Ghent and Liege, the pavilion of Antwerp was a reproduction of the House of Rubens.

Colonies exhibiting: Algeria (France), Belgian Congo, French Indochina, French West Africa, Madagascar, Mozambique (Portugal), Senegal (France) and Tunisia. The French features were asaid to have rather upstaged upstaged the Belgian Congo display.

1910 Belgium - Belgian Universal Exposition (Worlds Fair) in Brussels by  Godefroid Devreese
1910 Brussels medal

In total there were 27,510 exhibitors from 32 countries and 8 colonies.

Some 13,000,000 visitors included 1.2m French tourists. There was an internal tram service to move them around the site.

August fire (illustration)

A fire broke out at around 9pm on the night of 14-15 August after the visitors had left the site. It destroyed several pavilions, including the British section, the Paris pavilion, and a French restaurant in the central area of the exposition. It left untouched many of the industrial halls and machinery halls, and most of the amusement areas. The official statement was that nobody was killed or injured, though some zoo animals on show did perish, including two crocodiles.

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