Fainting in Coyles An occasional letter from the
Heart of Euroville
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Delusions of Empire or Law Street and its place in Europe
One of the great monuments of Brussels is the Imperial triumphal arch in the Jubelpark. This monument concieved to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the existance of this disfunctional country. It was opened 25 years late and had been financed almost entirely on the backs of dead Congolese tribesmen.
However it is pretty impressive and can be seen from the city centre. The view that it crowns is down one of the major spokes on the city's wheel; Rue de la Loi or Wet Straat. This street, as can be seen be this map. The road passes between the Berlaymont Building (newly and expensively refurbished home to the Commission President), Justus Lipsius (Home to the Council of Ministers), Charlemagne, (the foriegn ministry) and a number of other Commission buildings; it is a streeet to avoid during the increasing number of summits sffered by the city as motorcade after motorcade goes screaming, lights flashing, outriders driving ordinary mortals into the gutters - you get the picture.
Well, over the past couple of months this street has been becoming what can only be described as an imperial triumphal way. First it was completely resurfaced (not a bad thing in Brussels I can assure you). Then came the posh street furniture, then huge EU flags hanging from the buildings (both private and institutional) at perfect intervals. Now I note that it has the most impressive set of street lights, spaced 60ft apart.
The capital of an Empire needs its architectural symbols as as all great imerions have recognised. Brussels is getting its own.