Brussels approves funding for renovations to Jewish Museum and Forest Abbey

Additional funding will be available for renovating the Jewish Museum and the Forest Abbey in Brussels. The Beliris Corporation has decided to grant 3 million euros to each institution, MP Karine Lalieux reported on Monday.

In July 2023, Brussels granted a building permit for the comprehensive renovation and reorganisation of the Jewish Museum. On Friday, the Cooperation Committee approved an additional investment of 3.35 million euros. This will enable Beliris, the public developer in Brussels, to initiate the public contract for the renovation works.

The current structure of the Jewish Museum, dating back to 1901, no longer meets the standards for a modern museum, according to Lalieux. Issues include small rooms, challenging circulation - particularly for people with reduced mobility - and a failure to meet preservation standards for archives, heritage and artworks. Fire safety is suboptimal and the floors are warped, necessitating adjustments to the museography.

The redesigned museum will feature six floors, including a basement with specialised climate control for temporary exhibitions. It will house spaces for permanent and temporary exhibitions, a ticket office, a museum shop, a cafeteria, a 150-person multifunctional area, an educational space and a documentation centre.

Jewish Museum of Belgium © BELGIAN FREELANCE
Jewish Museum of Belgium © BELGIAN FREELANCE

Funding for the Forest Abbey will go towards restoring the historical heritage and transforming the space into a cultural hub hosting several organisations. The Forest Academy of Music, Dance and Word Art, the French-language library, the BRASS cultural centre, the Forest youth centre and the community's youth service will all find a home in the new space.

The initial phase of work began in April 2023, focusing on asbestos removal and the demolition of three buildings. The subsequent phase, planned for 2024, will encompass the restoration of the abbey and the construction of the new library.



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