First World War centenary in the Brussels region


Last October, the Brussels Government launched a call for projects to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. In view of the success and enthusiasm surrounding these commemorations, there are a total of 130 projects which will benefit from the Region’s support for a total amount of € 2.5 million.

170 application dossiers were received from project holders from all backgrounds, municipalities, museums, archive centres, libraries and cultural centres.

“Overall, the projects were of a high quality and in the majority of cases conformed to the values set out by the region, such as education of the very youngest members of society, the evocation of the social evolution which ensued from the conflict, the conveyance of positive values and the duty of remembrance,” said Rudi Vervoort.

It was above all these values that were prioritised in the analysis of the numerous dossiers submitted. The Brussels municipalities also made a large contribution, with more than half submitting a dossier.

As a result, the Region will be supporting nearly 130 projects, both small and large, modest or large-scale. Take, for example, the exhibition ‘14-18 it’s our history’ which opened yesterday at the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces. This exhibition is addressed to a very large audience, including both children as well as the real enthusiasts among us who will certainly appreciate this immersion in the history of the Great War.

Jean-Luc Vanraes, president of the Brussels Region 14-18 steering committee: “I grew up in Ypres and the Great War was an important part of my education. The commemoration is doubly important to me. Firstly, the war brought about an important change in our modern society’s notion of freedom, emancipation and democracy. Secondly, it is the ideal moment to remind primarily the younger generation of the fragility of democracy. We must defend our democratic values amongst young people. The commemoration of the First World War represents a unique and ideal occasion to do so.”

For the list of projects which will benefit from a subsidy check the website:

To accompany this call for projects, the Region has also put online an educational site with a particularly original approach. The history of the Great War in Brussels is told and illustrated via numerous photographs from the time which serve to evoke these years of occupation by showing the everyday lives of the inhabitants of Brussels.

Put together in a deliberately accessible narrative style, this site constitutes a moving testimony which took hundreds of hours of research on the part of the experts from CEGES who were entrusted with the project.