BRUSSELS, BELGIUM 1910
Exposition Universelle et Internationale
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Quick List Info
Dates Open - April 23 to November 7, 1910. Open Sundays. Some sources list other closing dates, from November 1 to November 14.
Attendance - 13 million. 110,000 season tickets sold.
International Participants - 32 nations and 8 colonies.
Total Cost - Cost of exhibition 17,750,000 FB ($3.55 million). Receipts were 17,500,000 FB.
Site Acreage - 225 acres located in Solbosch, the Mount of the Arts plus annex at Tervueren where the Exposition colonial and Museum of the Congo were located plus a fine arts section in Centenaire Park.
Sanction and Type - Prior to the Bureau of International
Exhibitions. Would be considered a Registered Expo like those on the 5 year of a decade.
Ticket Cost - Admission price 20 cents.
Photo top center: Postcard of the procession at the Brussels 1910 international exhibition, 1910. Courtesy Pinterest. Column Top: Official poster of the Brussels 1910 Exposition, 1910, likely Fair Authority. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons. Column Below: Main facade of the Exhibition Building, 1910. Courtesy Pinterest.
The plethora of Belgium exhibitions had continued since the last Brussels 1897 fair, with Liege in 1905 taking root and preparations for the second Brussels fair underway. King Leopold II chose a new site for the main section of this exhibition on the Mount of the Arts between the Royal Palace and the Grand Place. He told landscape architect Pierre Vacherot to build a lavish ornamental garden on top the hill with cascading steps. The stars of this show were the arts and the colonies, including his prize, the Belgian Congo, which was exhibited at the old Tervueren site, an annex to the 1910 fair. The fine arts were exhibited at Centenaire Park. The exposition would celebrate the 80th anniversary of Belgium's independence.
The nations of the world were invited to participate in 1906, more than thirty would come again, in both official and unofficial forms. National pavilions representing Germany, Brazil, China, Spain, Haiti, Italy, Monaco, Nicaragua, Netherlands, Peru, Uruguay, and Canada were built. Germany liked the scenery of the fair so much that by 1914 they were strolling down the avenues nearby with their Army during World War I. But before that negative legacy, the fair held the attention of the visitors with interesting features beyond the international pavilions and exhibits. There were 27,510 exhibitors and 19,574 awards The fair was replete with fun features like the Scenic Railway.
The London Times reported on April 23 that the main building was 250 meters long and included the exhibits of Belgium and Great Britain. Across a bridge over the Solbosch Avenue were large industrial halls with exhibits of the other nations. The Machinery Hall itself was 23,700 square meters large with the United Kingdom taking 1/3 of its space. The towns of Belgium also exhibits; Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp, and Liege.
Above photo. Entrance to the Belgium section at the 1910 Brussels fair, 1910, Original source unknown. Courtesy Pinterest. Middle: China Pavilion, 1910. Courtesy Pinterest. Bottom: Poster from the 1910 Brussels Exposition, 1910. Courtesy Pinterest.
There was a small loss from hosting, some of which was covered by a raffle, less significant from an aspect of success of failure than at some other expositions. The fire in August, which caused the closing of the fair for a few days, actually increased the publicity for the fair.
Sources: Les Expositions Universelle en Belgique; The Panoramic Dream, Antwerp and the World Exhibitions; London Times; New York Times; Historical Dictionary of World's Fairs by Alfred Heller; Fair News; Expositions Internationale en Belgique; Les Fastes du Progres; Fair News; Bureau of International Expositions; History of Centennial, Fairs and Expositions.
Second of Brussels Fairs
International Participants Nations and Colonies
Germany 3957, Belgium 6500, Denmark 44, Spain 573, France and Colonies 10364, Great Britain and Ireland 1525, Italy 804, Luxembourg 106, Monaco 29, Netherlands 1398, Brazil 1445, Guatemala 421, Haiti 109, Nicaragua 3, Peru 26, Dominican Republic 244, Uruguay 184, Canada 4, China 69, Persia 171, Turkey 192, Austria-Hungary (unofficial) 64, United States (unofficial) 125, Japan (unofficial) 6, Russia (unofficial), Switzerland (unofficial) 101, Argentina, Chile, Egypt, Morocco, Mexico, Mozambique (Colony of Portugal), Senagal (Colony of France), Belgian Congo, Spain, Greece, Monaco.
Colonial pavilion - French Pavilion of Colonies, French West Africa, Algeria, Indochina, Madagascar, Tunisia. There was a Pavilion for Occidental Africa.
Note: Number of exhibits listed after name, if known. It is sometimes difficult to tell whether certain nations actually participated in a significant way. Newspaper reports as well as the official documents or secondary sources may indicate participation when actual participation did not occur or occurred minimally. Take the above as a guide, not gospel. Various sources differ on who exhibited.
During the afternoon of August 14, the Grand Palais caught fire and burned to the ground. The exxhibition was closed for several days after. The British section, the Paris pavilion, and a French restaurant were burned.
1.2 million French tourists came to the exposition.
700,000 visitors used the interior tram.
The buildings had a floor space of 2,278,850 square feet, and some were copies of historic structures. The official pavilion of Antwerp was a reproduction of the House of Rubens.
While the Mont de Arts still remains as a visual point in modern Brussels, the gardens from the exposition and other 1910 remnants are predominantly gone in post-war Belgium's urban renewal. One of the few remaining monuments to the fair is the Hotel Astoria that was constructed for the fair. The area is now the site of Brussels University.
Those in Charge
Ministry of Finance and Public Works organized with some assistance from the Ministry of War. Ferdinand Baeyens, Governor of the General Society of Belgium, assumed the presidency of the exposition. Executive committee was chaired by Emile de Mot, George Dupret, and Maurice Lemonnier.
Photo column top: Netherlands Pavilion, Brussels 1910, 1910. Courtesy Pinterest. Middle: German soldiers on the Boulevard Bolwerk in Brussels, 1914. Courtesy Library of Congress.
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