Colonne du Congrès (French)
Front view of the Independence Column
|Area||1.63 a (1,750 sq ft)|
|Elevation||47 m (154 ft)|
|Inaugurated by||King Leopold I|
|Built for||commemoration of the National Congress of Belgium|
|Architectural style(s)||Corinthian column
The Congress Column (French: Colonne du Congrès; Dutch: Congreskolom) is a monumental column situated on the Place du Congrès / Congresplein in Brussels, Belgium. It commemorates the creation of the Belgian state and constitution by the National Congress between 1830-1831. It was erected on the initiative of Charles Rogier, according to a design by Joseph Poelaert, between 1850 and 1859 and was inspired by Trajan's Column in Rome. It was restored from 2002 to 2008.
The column, with the statue of King Leopold I of the Belgians surmounting it included, has a total height of 47 metres (154 ft). A spiral staircase of 193 stairs in the interior of the column leads to a platform surrounding the pedestal of the statue of Leopold I.
The statue of Leopold was made by Guillaume Geefs. The important dates in the struggle for Belgian independence are engraved on the pedestal of the column, together with the names of the members of the National Congress and the Provisional Government and important passages from the liberal Belgian constitution of 1832. The four sitting statues surrounding the pedestal represent the major constitutional liberties; the 'Liberty of Union' by Charles Fraikin, the 'Liberty of Worship' by Eugène Simonis, the 'Liberty of Press' and the 'Liberty of Education' both by Joseph Geefs. Two monumental bronze lions by Eugène Simonis are placed in front of the monument.
Monument to the Unknown Soldier
As a memorial to the Belgian victims of World War I, five unknown soldiers were buried at the foot of the monument on 11 November 1922.  Their tomb is surmounted by an eternal flame. After World War II, a second memorial plaque was added to the monument to honour the Belgian victims. In 1998, a third memorial plaque was dedicated to the Belgian soldiers killed in the service of peace since 1945.
- Stappaerts 1860, p. 45.
- Régie des Bâtiments (10 April 2009). "Colonne du Congrès". regiedesbatiments.be (in French). Retrieved 26 January 2014.
- Stappaerts 1860, p. 6.
- Stappaerts 1860, p. 43.
- Stappaerts 1860, p. 37.
- Stappaerts 1860, p. 44.
- Stappaerts 1860, p. 91.
- Stappaerts 1860, p. 71.
- "Un grand bourgmestre et la ville qu'il aima" (in French). Europeana. 1939. Retrieved 2014-01-28.The oldest film material in this movie (9:03 - 9:49 min), is about the burial of the coffins of the Unknown Soldier at the monument to the Congress Column on November 11, 1922.
- Stappaerts, Félix (1860). La colonne du Congrès à Bruxelles: notice historique et descriptive du monument (in French). Brussels: Van Buggenhoudt.