Place des Martyrs, Brussels

Martyrs' Square (French: Place des Martyrs; Dutch: Martelarenplein) is a square in the centre of Brussels, Belgium. Its current name refers to the martyrs of the September days of the Belgian Revolution of 1830.

Place des Martyrs (in French)
Martelarenplein (in Dutch)
Martyrs' Square
LocationCity of Brussels, Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium
QuarterMarais–Jacqmain Quarter
Coordinates50°51′05″N 04°21′22″E

Originally, the square was called Place Saint-Michel in French or Sint-Michielsplein in Dutch after Saint Michael, patron saint of the City of Brussels. It was laid-out in a uniform neoclassical style in the years 1774–1778, based on the designs of Claude Fisco. Over 400 heroes of the Belgian Revolution of 1830 lie buried in a crypt beneath the cobblestones. Many lie not far from where they were shot, in fierce battles amid the Brussels streets and barricades. Today, the square is home to cabinet offices of the Flemish Government, including those of the Flemish minister-president, as well as a theatre; the Théâtre des Martyrs.

Martyrs' Square is located near Rue Neuve/Nieuwstraat. It is served by the metro station De Brouckère on lines 1 and 5 of the Brussels metro.


In 1773, the City of Brussels, which had acquired the plot of a former laundry, commissioned the architect Claude Fisco, controller of the works of the city, to build a new square, called Place Saint-Michel/Sint-Michielsplein ("Saint Michael's Square"). The works, which also involved digging several arteries, lasted from 1774 to 1776. In 1795, under the French regime, the square was temporarily renamed Place de la Blanchisserie/Blekerijplein ("Laundry Square").

The layout of the square was modified several times over the centuries. Originally, it was a paved "empty" square, as can be seen on engravings from the late 18th century. In 1802, linden trees were planted. In 1830, after the first victims of the Belgian Revolution had been buried there, the provisional government decided, in 1831, to turn the square into a national commemoration place for the victims of the Revolution. In 1838, the Pro Patria monument, carved by the court sculptor of King Leopold I, Guillaume Geefs, and including a statue and crypt, was erected. The construction of the Martyrs' Monument led to a radical alteration of the square and its name was changed definitively to Place des Martyrs/Martelarenplein ("Martyrs' Square"). In 1839, the addition of gardens on both sides of the Monument changed the square's appearance once again, then in 1841, the installation of fountains, which were replaced by pools in 1841.

Martyrs' Square, including the facades and roofs of the buildings, as well as the Martyrs' Monument, were designated a historic monument on 10 June 1963.[1] In 1980, the square was partially restored to its original appearance and was repaved.

See also


Media related to Place des Martyrs/Martelaarsplein at Wikimedia Commons

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