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Lincoln Memorial
best picture Statue of Liberty
Image by Jack Parrott
The Lincoln Memorial is an American national monument built to honor the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. It is located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. across from the Washington Monument. The architect was Henry Bacon, the sculptor of the primary statue – Abraham Lincoln, 1920 – was Daniel Chester French, and the painter of the interior murals was Jules Guerin. Dedicated in 1922, it is one of several monuments built to honor an American president.
The building is in the form of a Greek Doric temple and contains a large seated sculpture of Abraham Lincoln and inscriptions of two well-known speeches by Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address and his Second Inaugural Address. The memorial has been the site of many famous speeches, including Martin Luther King’s "I Have a Dream" speech, delivered on August 28, 1963 during the rally at the end of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Like other monuments on the National Mall – including the nearby Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, and National World War II Memorial – the memorial is administered by the National Park Service under its National Mall and Memorial Parks group. It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since October 15, 1966. It is open to the public 24 hours a day. In 2007, it was ranked seventh on the List of America’s Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects.

The first public memorial to Abraham Lincoln in Washington D.C. was a statue by Lot Flannery erected in front of the District of Columbia City Hall in 1868, three years after Lincoln’s assassination.[2] Demands for a fitting national memorial had been voiced since the time of Lincoln’s death. In 1867, the Congress passed the first of many bills incorporating a commission to erect a monument for the sixteenth president. An American sculptor, Clark Mills, was chosen to design the monument. His plans reflected the nationalistic spirit of the time, and called for a 70-foot (21 m) structure adorned with six equestrian and 31 pedestrian statues of colossal proportions, crowned by a 12-foot (3.7 m) statue of Abraham Lincoln. Subscriptions for the project were insufficient.[3]
The matter lay dormant until the start of the 20th century, when, under the leadership of Senator Shelby M. Cullom of Illinois, six separate bills were introduced in Congress for the incorporation of a new memorial commission. The first five bills, proposed in the years 1901, 1902, and 1908, met with defeat because of opposition from Speaker Joe Cannon. The sixth bill (Senate Bill 9449), introduced on December 13, 1910, passed. The Lincoln Memorial Commission had its first meeting the following year and former U.S. President William H. Taft was chosen as the commission’s president. Progress continued at a steady pace and by 1913 Congress had approved of the Commission’s choice of design and location.
The commission’s plan was questioned. Many thought that architect Henry Bacon’s Greek temple design was far too ostentatious for a man of Lincoln’s humble character. Instead they proposed a simple log cabin shrine. The site too did not go unopposed. The recently reclaimed land in West Potomac Park was seen by many to be either too swampy or too inaccessible. Other sites, such as Union Station, were put forth. The Commission stood firm in its recommendation, feeling that the Potomac Park location, situated on the Washington Monument-Capitol axis, overlooking the Potomac River and surrounded by open land, was ideal. Furthermore, the Potomac Park site had already been designated in the McMillan Plan of 1901 to be the location of a future monument comparable to that of the Washington Monument.[3][4]
With Congressional approval and a 0,000 allocation, the project got underway. On February 12, 1914, a dedication ceremony was conducted and following month the actual construction began. Work progressed steadily according to schedule. Some changes were made to the plan. The statue of Lincoln, originally designed to be 10 feet (3.0 m) tall, was enlarged to 19 feet (5.8 m) to prevent it from being overhelmed by the huge chamber. As late as 1920, the decision was made to substitute an open portal for the bronze and glass grille which was to have guarded the entrance. Despite these changes, the Memorial was finished on schedule. Commission president William H. Taft – who was then Chief Justice of the United States – dedicated the Memorial on May 30, 1922 and presented it to President Warren G. Harding, who accepted it on behalf of the American people. Lincoln’s only surviving son, 79-year-old Robert Todd Lincoln, was in attendance.[5]
The Memorial was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966.[6]

The exterior of the Memorial echoes a classic Greek temple and features Yule marble from Colorado. The structure measures 189.7 by 118.5 feet (57.8 by 36.1 m) and is 99 feet (30 m) tall. It is surrounded by a peristyle of 36 fluted Doric columns, one for each of the 36 states in the Union at the time of Lincoln’s death, and two columns in-antis at the entrance behind the colonnade. The columns stand 44 feet (13 m) tall with a base diameter of 7.5 feet (2.3 m). Each column is built from 12 drums including the capital. The columns, like the exterior walls and façades, are inclined slightly toward the building’s interior. This is to compensate for perspective distortions which would otherwise make the memorial appear to bulge out at the top when compared with the bottom, a common feature of Ancient Greek architecture.[7]
Above the colonnade, inscribed on the frieze, are the names of the 36 states in the Union at the time of Lincoln’s death and the dates in which they entered the Union. Their names are separated by double wreath medallions in bas-relief. The cornice is composed of a carved scroll regularly interspersed with projecting lions’ heads and ornamented with palmetto cresting along the upper edge. Above this on the attic frieze are inscribed the names of the 48 states present at the time of the Memorial’s dedication. A bit higher is a garland joined by ribbons and palm leaves, supported by the wings of eagles. All ornamentation on the friezes and cornices was done by Ernest C. Bairstow.[7]
The Memorial is anchored in a concrete foundation, 44 to 66 feet (13 to 20 m) in depth, constructed by M. F. Comer and Company and the National Foundation and Engineering Company, and is encompassed by a 187-by-257-foot (57 by 78 m) rectangular granite retaining wall measuring 14 feet (4.3 m) in height.[7]
Leading up to the shrine on the east side are the main steps. Beginning at the edge of the Reflecting Pool, the steps rise to the Lincoln Memorial Circle roadway surrounding the edifice, then to the main portal, intermittently spaced with a series of platforms. Flanking the steps as they approach the entrance are two buttresses each crowned with an 11-foot (3.4 m) tall tripod carved from pink Tennessee marble[7] by the Piccirilli Brothers.[8]

The area where the statue stands is 60 feet wide, 74 feet long, and 60 feet high.[9] The interior of the Memorial is divided into three chambers by two rows of Ionic columns. These columns, four in each row, are 50 feet (15 m) tall and 5.5 feet (1.7 m) in diameter at their base. The north and south side chambers contain carved inscriptions of Lincoln’s second inaugural address and his Gettysburg Address.[10] Bordering these inscriptions are pilasters ornamented with fasces, eagles, and wreaths. The inscriptions and adjoining ornamentation were done by Evelyn Beatrice Longman.[7]
The Memorial is filled with symbolism: the 36 columns represent the states in the union at the time of Lincoln’s death, the 48 stone festoons on the attic above the columns represent the 48 states in 1922. Above each of the inscriptions is a 60-by-12-foot (18 by 3.7 m) mural painted by Jules Guerin graphically portraying governing principles evident in Lincoln’s life. On the south wall mural, Freedom, Liberty, Immortality, Justice, and the Law are pictured, while the north wall portrays Unity, Fraternity, and Charity. Both scenes contain a background of cypress trees, the emblem of Eternity. The murals were crafted with a special mixture of paint which included elements of kerosene and wax to protect the exposed artwork from fluctuations in temperature and moisture conditions.[11]
The ceiling of the Memorial, 60 feet (18 m) above the floor, is composed of bronze girders, ornamented with laurel and oak leaves. Between the girders are panels of Alabama marble, saturated with paraffin to increase their translucency. Despite the increased light from this device, Bacon and French felt the statue required even more light. They decided upon an artificial lighting system in which a louvered lighting panel would be set in the ceiling with metal slats to conceal the great floodlights. Custodians could adjust the lights from a control room, varying them according to the outside light. Funds for this expensive system were appropriated by Congress in 1926, and in 1929, seven years after the dedication, the statue was properly lighted. Since that time, only one major alteration has taken place in the Memorial’s design. This was the addition of an elevator within the structure to aid handicapped visitors, which was installed in the mid-1970s.[11]

Main article: Abraham Lincoln (French 1920)
Epitaph above Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln Statue

Abraham Lincoln, by Daniel Chester French

General Robert E. Lee’s profile is purportedly hidden in Lincoln’s hair; the NPS claims it to be an urban legend.
Lying between the north and south chambers is the central hall containing the solitary figure of Lincoln sitting in contemplation. The statue was carved by the Piccirilli Brothers under the supervision of the sculptor, Daniel Chester French, and took four years to complete. The statue, originally intended to be only 10 feet (3.0 m) tall, was, on further consideration, enlarged so that it finally stood 19 feet (5.8 m) tall from head to foot, the scale being such that if Lincoln were standing, he would be 28 feet (8.5 m) tall. The extreme width of the statue is the same as its height. The Georgia white marble sculpture weighs 175 short tons (159 t) and had to be shipped in 28 separate pieces.[11]
The statue rests upon an oblong pedestal of Tennessee marble 10 feet (3.0 m) high, 16 feet (4.9 m) wide, and 17 feet (5.2 m) deep. Directly beneath this lies a platform of Tennessee marble about 34.5 feet (10.5 m) long, 28 feet (8.5 m) wide, and 6.5 inches (0.17 m) high. Lincoln’s arms rest on representations of Roman fasces, a subtle touch that associates the statue with the Augustan (and imperial) theme (obelisk and funerary monuments) of the Washington Mall.[12] The statue is discretely bordered by two pilasters, one on each side. Between these pilasters and above Lincoln’s head stands the engraved epitaph,[11] composed by Royal Cortissoz, shown in the box to the left.[13]
Sculptural features[edit]
The sculpture has been at the center of two urban legends. Some have claimed that the face of General Robert E. Lee was carved onto the back of Lincoln’s head,[14] and looks back across the Potomac toward his former home, Arlington House, now within the bounds of Arlington National Cemetery. Another popular legend is that Lincoln is shown using sign language to represent his initials, with his left hand shaped to form an "A" and his right hand to form an "L", the president’s initials. The National Park Service denies both legends.[14]
However, historian Gerald Prokopowicz writes that, while it is not clear that sculptor Daniel Chester French intended Lincoln’s hands to be formed into sign language versions of his initials, it is possible that French did intend it, because he was familiar with American Sign Language, and he would have had a reason to do so, that is, to pay tribute to Lincoln for having signed the federal legislation giving Gallaudet University, a university for the deaf, the authority to grant college degrees.[15] The National Geographic Society’s publication, "Pinpointing the Past in Washington, D.C." states that Daniel Chester French had a son who was deaf and that the sculptor was familiar with sign language.[16][17] Historian James A. Percoco has observed that, although there are no extant documents showing that French had Lincoln’s hands carved to represent the letters "A" and "L" in American Sign Language, "I think you can conclude that it’s reasonable to have that kind of summation about the hands."[18]
Sacred space[edit]

The March on Washington in 1963 brought 250,000 people to the National Mall and is famous for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech.
As Sandage, (1993) demonstrates, the Memorial has become a symbolically sacred venue especially for the Civil Rights movement. In 1939, the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to allow the African-American contralto Marian Anderson to perform before an integrated audience at the organization’s Constitution Hall. At the suggestion of Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harold L. Ickes, the Secretary of the Interior, arranged for a performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday of that year, to a live audience of 70,000, and a nationwide radio audience.
On August 28, 1963, the memorial grounds were the site of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which proved to be a high point of the American Civil Rights Movement. It is estimated that approximately 250,000 people came to the event, where they heard Martin Luther King, Jr., deliver his historic speech, "I Have a Dream", before the memorial honoring the president who had issued the Emancipation Proclamation 100 years earlier. The D.C. police also appreciated the location because it was surrounded on three sides by water, so that any incident could be easily contained.[19] Twenty years later, on August 28, 1983, crowds gathered again to mark the 20th Anniversary Mobilization for Jobs, Peace and Freedom, to reflect on progress in gaining civil rights for African Americans and to commit to correcting continuing injustices. The "I Have a Dream" speech is such a part of the Lincoln Memorial story, that the spot on which King stood, on the landing eighteen steps below Lincoln’s statue, was engraved in 2003 in recognition of the 40th anniversary of the event. This engraving can be easy to miss unless one walks up the very center of the steps. The engraving is not large and the letters have not been painted in to make them more readable.

The location on the steps where King delivered the speech is commemorated with this inscription
At the memorial on May 9, 1970, President Richard Nixon had a middle-of-the-night impromptu, brief meeting with protesters who, just days after the Kent State shootings, were preparing to march against the Vietnam War.
The Memorial today[edit]

Approximately 6 million people visit the memorial annually.[20] In 2007, the Memorial was ranked seventh in the List of America’s Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects.[21] The Memorial is open to the public 24 hours a day and is free to visit.

Monument, Martyrs’ Square – Place des Martyrs – Martelaarsplaats 1
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A brief history of Belgium, and the Place des Martyrs – Martelaarsplaats (Martyrs’ Square) in that history –

Among the most moving places to visit in the capital of Belgium, is Martyrs’ Square in Brussels, where over 400 heroes of the Belgian Revolution of 1830 lie buried in a crypt beneath the cobblestones. This square is usually known by its French name, La Place des Martyrs, or also by its Dutch name, De Martelaarsplaats. Many of the dead here lie not far from where they were shot, in fierce battles amid the Brussels streets and barricades.

A wonderful monument here honours these heroes who died for the cause of freedom, in the brief 1830-31 revolutionary war that created the Belgian nation.

Particularly extraordinary and moving at the Place des Martyrs – Martelaarsplaats, are four beautiful sculptures of angels, with the angels´ faces in touchingly eternal expressions of mourning for the brave ones who gave their lives for the freedom of others.

These are photos from the daily life of writer, journalist and political refugee from the US, Dr Les (Leslie) Sachs – I am someone who also has nearly died fighting for freedom for others.

These Flickr photos document my new beloved home city of Brussels, Belgium, my life among the people and Kingdom who have given me safety in the face of the threats to destroy me. Brussels has a noble history of providing a safe haven to other dissident refugee writers, such as Victor Hugo, Karl Marx, Charles Baudelaire, and Alexandre Dumas, and I shall forever be grateful that Brussels and Belgium have helped to protect my own life as well. I’m happy to help convey to the world some of Brussels’ wonderful cultural heritage.

(To read about the efforts to silence me and my journalism, the attacks on me, the smears and the threats, see the website by European journalists ‘About Les Sachs’ linked in my Flickr profile, and press articles such as ‘Two EU Writers Under Threat of Murder: Roberto Saviano and Dr Les Sachs’.)

The Place des Martyrs – Martelaarsplaats remains a place where today’s Belgians continue to remember and honour the heroes who died for them. Some weeks before the earlier group of these pictures were taken, on one rainy morning, I stood at the Place des Martyrs – Martelaarsplaats in the pouring rain, with a small group of Belgians in their 60s, 70s, and 80s, a number of them frail and supporting themselves unsteadily with canes on the uneven cobblestone surface, while a brass band was playing patriotic music. Though the rain was pouring down heavily on the Place des Martyrs, these elderly Belgians did not mind getting drenched, whatever the risk to their health, because these good people were children when the Nazis occupied Belgium, and that rainy day was a day to remember the Belgians who died fighting the fascist occupiers.

Quick sketch of the history of Belgium, and the historical role of Martyrs’ Square –

The history of Belgium is not easy to outline. Belgium is today a nation with three official languages, reflecting its two large language groups of French and Dutch speakers, along with a small area whose native language is German. The Romans and Julius Caesar were in the neighbourhood over 2000 years ago, and Caesar wrote of fighting some fierce tribes here called the "Belgae", from whom the nation takes its name.

In fact, Julius Caesar referred to the Belgians or ‘Belgae’, in the very first sentence of his most famous book, ‘De Bello Gallico’, his commentary on the ‘Gallic Wars’: « Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres, quarum unam incolunt Belgae … » « The whole of Gaul is divided into three parts, in one of which live the Belgians … »

As the Roman Empire fell apart, the Belgian region was home to the Merovingian kings in the early "dark ages", and then was part of the empire of Charlemagne. Under Charlemagne’s grandson Lothair and great-grandson King Lothair II, the area of current Belgium was part of a kingdom of ‘Lotharingia’ whose name we know today as the French ‘Lorraine’. This kingdom rapidly divided among royal heirs, with ‘Upper Lorraine’ roughly inside what is now France, and Brussels becoming the capital of a ‘Duchy of Lower Lorraine’ – roughly today’s Low Countries – when a castle was built in Brussels’ old centre around the year 979.

Borders and regional identity continued to change quickly in the centuries after Charlemagne, the "high middle ages". What was ‘Lower Lorraine’ gave way to several of the great mediaeval territories and dukedoms spreading across differing sections of what is now Belgium, with names we still hear today: Flanders, Brabant, Luxembourg. And various smaller territories and fiefdoms were also a part here, amid the ever-shifting landscape of mediaeval and feudal Europe.

The middle part of Belgium, including Brussels, was the historic territory of Brabant, and the Dukes of Brabant, about the year 1100, built premises right at what is known today in Brussels as the Royal Square – Place Royale – Kongingsplaats.

Brabant and much of Belgium then came to be part of the great late-mediaeval dukedom of Burgundy, which reached the height of influence in the 1400s with Brussels as the Burgundian capital along with Dijon. At its height, Burgundy was regarded by many as the richest court in all Europe. Today’s independent Belgium is thus a remnant of that long-ago much larger Renaissance realm of Burgundy, as well as of the even more ancient kingdom of mediaeval Lotharingia.

The area of today’s Belgium kept its leading role in Europe in the early 1500s, as Burgundy in turn was enveloped into the Holy Roman Empire at its height. The towns of Belgium gave birth and upbringing to the Emperor Charles V, who at one point ruled most of Europe from Brussels. So, about 500 years ago, Brussels was already the ‘centre’ of Europe.

After Charles, his empire began to break apart, and the territory of today’s Belgium had a succession of foreign rulers from within Charles V’s widely-flung Habsburg family: First the Spanish, who kept hold of the territory we now call Belgium, while the Dutch to the north broke away during the Protestant Reformation. After the ‘War of the Spanish Succession’, the Habsburg territories were further divided, with Belgium going under Austrian control from 1714 onwards.

It was under the Austrians, in the late 1700s, that elegant buildings began to be built around a large square which was named the Place Saint-Michel, or Saint Michael’s Square. This would later become Place des Martyrs – Martelaarsplaats that you see here.

The beginning of the end of Austrian rule, and the beginning of the story of modern independent Belgium, was the ‘Brabantine Revolution’ (Révolution Brabançonne – Brabantse Revolutie), whereby in 1789 much of what is now Belgium, asserted its full independence from its then-rulers, the Habsburg emperors of Austria.

In sympathy and parallel with the epoch-changing revolution of 1789 in next-door France, the rebellious provinces of ‘Austrian Netherlands’ also went into rebellion that same year, and declared the deposition of the Austrian Habsburg Emperor, and the creation of the ‘United Belgian States’ (États-Belgiques-Unis – Verenigde Belgische Staten), which endured only briefly in 1789-1790. The ‘Belgian’ name came from the Latin word used by Julius Caesar to identify the fierce fighting tribes who inhabited this region in Caesar’s day, the ‘Belgae’.

In 1789, the seals of the document declaring the ‘United Belgian States’ to be ‘free’ and ‘independent’, were ornamented by silken tassels of black, yellow and red. The flag of the short-lived Belgian nation of 1789-90, then used these three colours, though in horizontal stripes and in a different order than the current vertically-striped Belgian flag.

The Austrians were able to briefly re-assert control of Belgium in 1790, then lost it to French control in 1792, and won it back one final time in 1793-94. The French then retained control, annexing most of what is now Belgium into France in 1795. As the Napoleonic era ended, Belgium was separated from France in 1814-1815.

As Napoléon was being defeated and his Empire terminated, the European nations meeting at the Council of Vienna of 1814-15, thought that the territories north of France, including modern Belgium and Luxembourg, should all be under the Dutch monarch, creating a single large buffer state between France and England.

The European powers meeting in Vienna avoided what might have seemed a more logical idea, of uniting only Dutch-speaking regions with the Netherlands, while letting the French-speaking regions of Wallonia remain united with France. The powers of 1815 did not want to reward France with territorial expansion to the north, precisely in the area around where Napoléon met his final defeat at Waterloo.

But the Vienna plan of shoving the French-speakers of Wallonia into a new Dutch monarchy, and expanding the Dutch nation and doubling its size, proved to be very unstable. The Dutch of the Netherlands were predominantly Protestant, while the southern populations, including the Dutch-speakers of Flanders, were predominantly Roman Catholic. And not only did the Catholic territories have large numbers of French speakers, the people in Flanders also speak a modestly different Dutch than in the Netherlands, which led them to chafe against the Dutch monarchy in sympathy with their French-speaking neighbours.

Tensions grew until an August, 1830 performance at the Brussels opera house, where political rebellion portrayed on the stage, became a catalyst for rebellion in the streets.

In September of 1830 the street rebellions became a full-blown revolution for Belgian independence. The Place Saint-Michel, Saint Michael’s Square, a few hundred metres from the opera house where the fuse for revolution had been lit, became a key site for the declaration of Belgian liberty and independence, and a pivotal site in the fierce and deadly street battles. The central days of the revolution in September 1830 – the 23rd, 24th, 25th and 26th – are the dates inscribed upon the tablet held by the high figure in the monument that you see in the photos, representing the angel or goddess of the Belgian home nation (Latin ‘patria’), with a lion by her side.

In 1830, with the hundreds of dead from the revolutionary battles, the decision was made to bury them there at the square, which now became the Square of the Martyrs of Freedom.

The revolution was quickly successful. Some battles continued to take place into 1831, as the Dutch made a last try to hold onto the Belgian territory, but the separation of Belgium and Luxembourg was speedily recognised and secured by the other European powers.

The Revolution of 1830 enabled Belgium to finally fulfil the dreams of the Belgian revolutionaries of 1789. The current Belgian tri-colour flag was established in 1831, using the 1789 colours of the ‘Brabantine Revolution’. Belgium became a nation and even acquired a king of its own, the Protestant German Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, who agreed to marry the Catholic daughter of the French monarch, and raise their children as French-speaking Roman Catholics, while he became the first hereditary King of the Belgians.

And today, the political refugee Dr Les (Leslie) Sachs, may owe the saving of his life in the face of the threats to murder him, to protection extended from the royal household of the King of the Belgians, the descendant of that first Belgian monarch.

Léopold I, who was born in 1790, reigned in Belgium until 1865. Early in his reign, he supervised the building of this monument at Martyrs’ Square. In one of the photos of the angels by the monument, you see between two angels the large plaque with the text in Latin. Two dates are given. The first is that of the declaration of the nation’s identity, on the 25th of September 1830, a date closely tied to the death of the martyrs buried in the crypt below. The second date, the 25th of September 1840, is the date of the completion and dedication of the main part of the monument, with the final line noting that this took place under Léopold I as the reigning monarch.

Though the main monument structure was indeed completed and dedicated in 1840, the lovely and magnificent angels were added some years later, in 1848. Today, it is these sculptured angels which, above all, give Martyrs’ Square its high character of deep emotion and magnificence.

The buildings around the square have, over the centuries, partially fallen into a difficult state, and you see one of the buildings undergoing inside-out comprehensive renovation in the photos. The overall revival and restoration of Martyrs’ Square has been given a major boost, however, by the government of Belgium’s majority Flemish-speaking region.

Belgium today is about 60 per cent Dutch-speaking, with most of the remainder French-speakers along with a few native German-speakers. Brussels itself is officially bi-lingual, and historically was predominantly a Dutch-speaking city through the centuries, from the mediaeval and Renaissance era down to early modern times. However, this changed in the 1800s, and Brussels today is at least 70 per cent French-speaking, with many of the rest of Brussels residents foreign-born rather than Dutch-speaking.

Yet, in one of the many curious paradoxes of Belgium’s governmental arrangements, the predominantly French-speaking Brussels remains the ‘capital’ of the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders, while the French language community of Belgium has its capital in the provincial city of Namur.

Thus today, the Martelaarsplaats – Place des Martyrs, is the site of major national offices of Dutch-speaking Flanders. The Flemish government holds the two major buildings facing each other across the longer distance of the square, and the one you see in the photos in close-up with the three flags over the doorway (the EU flag, the Belgian flag, and the predominantly yellow Flemish flag) is actually the ‘Kabinet van de Minister-President’ of the ‘Vlaamse Regering’, or the ‘Office of the Minister-President’ (Prime Minister) of the Flemish government.

In front of the office of the Flemish Prime Minister, is a monument built in 1897 and dedicated to one of the particular martyrs of the Revolution, Jenneval. ‘Jenneval’ was the stage name of Louis Alexandre Hippolyte Dechez, as ‘Jenneval’ a well-known actor, who died from wounds in battle in October 1830. But some weeks before his death, Jenneval penned some of the original words to the Belgian national anthem, the Brabançonne. This monument to Jenneval was dedicated in 1897, on September 25th, precisely amid the 67th anniversary of the 1830 Belgian revolution for independence.

The inscriptions on the Jenneval monument are in both Dutch and French on opposite sides of it, though the French inscription is extremely weather-worn and hard to read. The inscriptions are:

Aan Jenneval
Dichter der Brabançonne
Gesneuveld voor ‘s lands
Hulde der stad Brussel
25 september 1897

À Jenneval
Poète de la Brabançonne
Mort pour l’indépendance
Hommage de la ville
de Bruxelles
25 septembre 1897

To Jenneval
Poet of the Brabançonne
Slain for his country’s / the nation’s independence
A tribute of the city of Brussels
25 September 1897

On the far opposite side of the Place des Martyrs – Martelaarsplaats, in front of the other Flemish government building here, is a monument to another hero of the Belgian Revolution, Comte (Count) Frédéric de Mérode, who was mortally wounded in battle in October 1830 and died a few days later in early November. His brother, Count Félix de Mérode, was a major figure in the Belgian provisional government in the weeks of revolution.

The Mérode monument also carries inscriptions on opposite sides in both French and Dutch:

Frédéric de Mérode
Mort pour l’indépendance
De la patrie

Frederic de Merode
Gestorven voor de
van het vaderland

Frédéric de Mérode
Who died for the independence
Of our home country

The map with this Flickr photo set will show you how to walk to the Place des Martyrs – Martelaarsplaats. It is a few minutes’ walk from either the De Brouckère or Rogier métro stations, via the popular rue Neuve – Nieuwstraat shopping promenade that runs between De Brouckère and Rogier. As you walk along the rue Neuve – Nieuwstraat, you see it visible a very few metres to the east along one of the intersections, at the Rue Saint-Michel – Sint-Michielsstraat, with the central monument of the Place des Martyrs – Martelaarsplaats clearly visible.

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