cultural territorial networks

productive heritage

 

 

La Fonderie - Centre for economical and social history of the Brussels region - hosts the Brussels Museum of Industry and Labour that aims to recall a not so “long-gone past” when Brussels was the country’s main industrial city. “Tour & Taxis” is a brand named after the rich Austrian family Thurn und Taxis, whose history is linked throughout several centuries to the Brussels area. In fact, the present site of “Tour & Taxis” was used as a pasture for post horses by the Thurn und Taxis ever since they had established here the first Imperial Post, back in the 15th century. Just a few streets away from the city centre, the Belle-Vue Brewery offers the opportunity of an interactive tour, during which one can “taste” the history of the famous Lambic beer.

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3.1 Tour & Taxis

 

“Tour & Taxis” is a brand named after the rich Austrian family Thurn und Taxis, whose history is linked throughout several centuries to the Brussels area. In fact, the present site of “Tour & Taxis” was used as a pasture for post horses by the Thurn und Taxis ever since they had established here the first Imperial Post, back in the 15th century.

The site continuously grew during the following centuries and reached its Golden age at the end of the 19th century, at a time when Belgium was the 5th European economic power. Close to the city’s harbor and accessible through the Willebroeck canal, the site now became a turning point for the city’s economic life. It had 37 hectares, its own railway station and was, at the same time, customs point, warehouse and transport station for goods arriving by water, rail and road. The main building – the Royal Warehouse – remains a masterpiece of industrial heritage that can still be admired today.

Following the removal of customs points in Europe and the increasing development of the road transport, the former industrial site was gradually abandoned, the last institution to leave being the Post (in 1987). Since 2001, several renovation projects have been put in place. It now welcomes a variety of shops, restaurants, trade fairs and cultural events such as the music festival “Couleur Café” or the Book fair “La Foire du Livre”.

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3.2 Cantillon Brewery

 

Established in 1900, the Cantillon Brewery is a family brewery and the last active brewery in the city of Brussels. It is still run by the Van Roy-Cantillon family and produces a wide variety of traditional Lambic beers such as the Gueuze, the Kriek or the Faro. The brewery is, at the same time, a museum and has been open to the public since 1987.

Cantillon makes the famous Belgian Lambic, which is a wheat beer, brewed only in the southwest part of Brussels. Its unique flavor is due to the presence of two species of bacteria that are said to be native from the Senne valley, in which the city lies. The Lambic is brewed through a process of spontaneous fermentation, followed by an aging period ranging from three months to three years, depending on the flavor desired. In its most natural form, Lambic is a draught beer which is rarely bottled and thus only available in its area of production and a few cafes in and around Brussels. The best known types of Lambic are the Gueuze, the Faro and the fruit based Kriek.

The guided visits at Cantillon are a unique experience being animated by the brewmaster Jean-Pierre Van Roy, the descendant of the founding family and the keeper of a centuries old craftsmanship. He usually talks for hours about his beers, the brewing, the bottling …

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