News

Autumn 2017

A word from the Managing Director

After more than 15 years, all the façades of the arcade have again the same aspect as at the origin of Passage du Nord. We are happy and proud of this result which gives again an architectural consistency to our arcade and allows our shops a nice and rewarding place for their activities.

From March 2017 until the winter 2017 Passage du Nord will also renovate the façades of the arcade and the glass roof, which will be final step of the renovation of this classified building.

More than ever, we are sure that we must go on. Passage du Nord Arcade is more and more appreciated and recognized thanks to this will to create an attractive commercial place.

Xavier Verhaeghe

 

 

ABOUT

Introduction

Almost everyone who lives in Brussels has walked at least once down this arcade, with its beautiful glazed roof and its Baroque statues, linking the Rue Neuve to the Boulevard Adolphe Max, close to the Place De Brouckère. The fashion for shopping arcades began in the nineteenth century in Europe, and in Paris in particular.

Between 1820 and 1860, Brussels was also touched by the craze for shopping arcades: around ten were built in this period in the city, of which only three have survived to the present day - the Royal St Hubert Arcade, the Bortier Arcade and the Passage du Nord. The Passage du Nord was one of the key new buildings that helped to create a “look” for the central boulevards.

Following the example of the first shopping arcade to be built in Belgium (the Passage Lemonnier in Liège), the Passage du Nord is a sort of shopping street decorated with charming caryatids and lavish curves. The use of sculpture on such a large scale was relatively unusual, bears witness to a considerable sense of luxury and helps to bring the perspective down the arcade to life.  

  History

The construction of the Passage du Nord was begun in 1881 by the Société Anonyme du Musée et Passage du Nord (Museum & Passage du Nord Ltd) to the designs of the architect Henri Rieck. It opened to the public in February 1882.

In 1892, the Passage du Nord was purchased by Léon Fontaine van der Straeten, who dissolved the limited company and set up a property management company with shares owned by many of his relatives, whose descendants still own them today.

The Brussels newspaper “La Gazette” announced on 26 May 1881 the construction of a shopping arcade with 32 shops and a museum between the Boulevard du Nord (today the Boulevard Adolphe Max) and the Rue Neuve.

The museum had several galleries for exhibitions of industrial products, modern inventions, works of art, curiosities and antiques, a concert hall, a laboratory for performing chemistry and physics experiments, a meeting room, a gaming room, a “baby’s theatre” and a restaurant.

Today, the ground floor contains only 20 shops, as several of the old shops were knocked together to form larger premises. The space occupied by the museum is now part of the Hotel Metropole and has been converted into meeting rooms and guest bedrooms. The only remaining traces of the museum are the two signs advertising the “Musée du Nord” on the Boulevard Adolphe Max facade of the building. Admission to the museum used to cost 1 Belgian franc.

 

SHOPS

E-selection

Open from Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 7pm.
11, Passage du Nord
Tel : 02 275 52 50

Coutellerie du Roi since 1750
All types of knives, razors and shaving-brushes.
Open from Monday to Saturday from 9.30am to 6.30pm

27, Passage du Nord

Tel. 02 217 54 94

Opened from Monday to Saturday from 9.30 to 18.30

 

Naf Naf
42-44, Rue Neuve
24-36, Passage du Nord

Tel 02 217 46 59

Opened from Monday to Saturday from 9.30 to 18.30

Galaxy Phone
Passage du Nord 23

All types of mobile phones and SIM cards for all operators

Tel 02 217 38 73

Opened from Monday to Saturday from 9.30 to 18.30

Davidoff
Specialist in cigars from Cuba and the Dominican Republic and Davidoff, Dupont and Dunhill luxury goods.
1-3, Passage du Nord

Tel 02 217 87 02

Opened from Monday to Saturday from 9.30 to 18.30

Optique Vogue

Optician and optometrist.
Specialist in varifocal glasses and contact lenses.
5-7, Passage du Nord

Tel : 02 218 01 24

Opened from Monday to Saturday from 9.30 to 18.30

Auto Ecole Contact +

9, Passage du Nord

Tel : 02 203 00 00 / 0489 245 000

Opened from Monday to Friday from 10.30 to 19.00 - Saturday from 12.00 to 18.00

Dress Up

14-18, Passage du Nord

Opened from Monday to Saturday from 9.30 to 18.30

 

Chemiserie & Costumes

Passage du Nord n°15

Opened from Monday to Saturday from 10am to 7pm

Tél. 0485 89 79 26

 

OUTLET PERFUME

Passage du Nord n°15

Opened from Monday to Saturday from 9.30 to 18.30

Espace Shoes

Passage du Nord n°22

Opened from Monday to Saturday from 9.30 to 18.30

Milk Bar
Passage du Nord n°21

any kind of sandwiches, snacks

Tél 02 218 23 52

Opened from Monday to Saturday from 9.30 to 18.30

The Oyster Bar

Oysters, Foie Gras. To taste or to bring home

Passage du Nord n°25

Opened from Monday to Saturday from 9.30 to 18.30

Tél 02 217 45 52

Chocolatier Neuhaus

Passage du Nord n°29

Fresh chocolate since 1857

Tél 02 217 27 37

Opened from Monday to Saturday from 9.30 to 18.30

Leather Goods Fabiola

Passage du Nord n°31-33

Samsonite/Delsey/Balmain

Carlton/Courrèges/Pierre Cardin

Tél : 02 217 25 66

Opened from Monday to Saturday from 9.30 to 18.30

 

Snack Maxi-Bagi

Passage du Nord n°8

Fresh Baguette

Tél : 02 217 71 00

Opened from Monday to Saturday from 9.30 to 18.30

Salon Beretta

Passage du Nord n°20

Barber Shop
Tél : 02 217 82 13

Opened from Monday to Saturday from 9.30 to 18.30

Ogotaï

Style and Fashion

Passage du Nord n°22

Opened from Monday to Saturday from 9.30 to 18.30

Dean

Shoes

Passage du Nord 2-4

Opened from Monday to Saturday from 9.30 to 18.30

Pharmacy de Brouckère

Passage du Nord 10-12

Opened from Monday to Saturday from 9.30 to 18.30

THE ARCADE

Architecture

imgA glazed link between two busy shopping streets, the Passage du Nord is a six-storey building 70m long and 6m wide, covering just over 5,000m². The shopping arcade was designed in typical nineteenth-century eclectic style.

On the first floor of the Boulevard Adolphe Max facade are four groups of children, sculpted by Albert Desenfans, holding candleabras topped with lanterns. These sculptures underwent a detailed restoration during the overall restoration of the facade in 2001.

The interior of the arcade is graced by the presence of 32 caryatids, sculpted by Joseph Bertheux. They are made up of 4 series of the same 8 designs. Their poses and attributes make allusions to metallurgy, commerce, the navy, astronomy, architecture, sculpture, painting and the decorative arts.

In addition to these 32 statues on the interior facades, two more statues of children by Albert Desenfans decorate the sides of the footbridge. One is an allegory of recreation and the other of meditation.

At the time it was built, the Passage du Nord did not create much of a stir, given its prestigious neighbours: (i) the House of Cats at 1, Boulevard Adolphe Max, designed by the architect Henri Beyaert and completed in 1874, which won several architectural prizes and is still considered today to be an outstanding example of nineteenth-century architecture, and (ii) the Hotel Metropole, which opened in 1881, and which had, and still has today, many links with the Passage du Nord.


Click here to see our presentation video

The Shops in the Passage du Nord

Today, the Passage du Nord contains a wide variety of shops.

The Passage du Nord contains two jeweller’s shops, a cutlery shop, a Davidoff luxury goods shop, an oyster bar and a Neuhaus chocolate shop.

An elegant florist’s shop rubs shoulders with an optician’s shop and a chemist’s shop, not forgetting the hairdresser’s salon. If you fancy a bite to eat there are two top-quality snack bars.

You can buy the latest mobile phone or some fashion shoes. One shop offers mainstream young people’s fashion clothes, while another has a more eclectic clientele. Finally, at the Rue Neuve end are a leather-goods shop and the trendy Naf Naf fashion boutique, which attract customers from the crowds walking along the Rue Neuve, the busiest shopping street in Belgium.

This commercial diversity is the main advantage of the Passage du Nord and helps to make it a go-to attraction of the city centre.

Click here to find out more about the shops

 

Listing and Renovation of the buildings

img The Passage du Nord was listed in 1993. The listing protects its external facades, its shop-fronts, its interior facades, its glazed roof and its floor.

Of course, the main effect of the listed-building status is to protect the remaining original architectural features, as any work done to them must comply with the original specification and designs. The Royal Belgian Commission for Historic Monuments and Sites in the Brussels-Capital Region must thus approve any work which will affect the listed features of the building, but, in return, the approval of work by the Commission gives the owner access to subsidies from the regional government.

Since 1994, the Commission has approved the complete renovation of the Passage du Nord’s roofs, interior friezes and external facades.

Next came the programme which began in 2002 that has seen around 2/3 of the shop-fronts in the arcade restored to their original design: blue granite bases with metal-framed stained-glass windows in the centre imitating the original basement windows; oak doors and window-frames; columns clad in mirrors and shop names in panels integrated into the restored frieze, repainted in the original colours. The most recently restored shop-front is that of the Davidoff shop at the Boulevard Adolphe Max end of the arcade. The management company’s intention is to continue this restoration programme for as long as it takes for all the shop-fronts to be renovated.

In parallel to the restoration of the shop-fronts, the glazed roofs and floor have also been renovated. The floor is once again paved in slabs of Comblanchien stone, laid out according to the original plan, whose execution was confirmed by period photos.

In the future, the interior facades above the shop fronts will be renovated, with the overall objective of maintaining the undoubted charm of this attractive and busy city-centre arcade, a beautiful vestige of the Brussels of yesteryear.

CONTACT

Shops to rent

At first floor of Passage du Nord, Conference center to rent. Various spaces, small and large rooms, for different types of activities like conferences, seminars, meeting rooms, workspaces. Various possibilities of lettings, short term or long term. Available from January 2018.

Contact : David Cardon (Sobelle) : 0475 620 553

Partners

Partners http://www.thierrycolonius.be/

Building experts:
www.imonument.be

Building Technology & Science Centre:
www.cstc.be

Architects :
http://www.inbetweenarchitecture.eu/

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