Brussels Stock Exchange
|Founded||July 8, 1801|
|Key people||Vincent Van Dessel (CEO)|
|No. of listings||181|
The Brussels Stock Exchange (French: Bourse de Bruxelles, Dutch: Beurs van Brussel), abbreviated to BSE, was founded in Brussels, Belgium, by decree of Napoleon in 1801. In 2002, the BSE merged with the Amsterdam, Lisbon and Paris stock exchanges into Euronext N.V., renaming the BSE Euronext Brussels. The most well known stock market index on the BSE is the BEL20.
Inception and construction
Following the covering of the river Senne for health and aesthetic reasons in the 1860s and 1870s, a massive programme of beautification of Brussels' city centre was undertaken. Architect Léon-Pierre Suys, as part of his proposal to construct a series of grand boulevards in the place of the river, designed a stock exchange building to become the centre of the rapidly expanding business sector. It was to be located on the former butter market (French: Marché au Beurre, Dutch: Botermarkt), itself built over the remains of the 13th-century Récollets Franciscan convent, on the newly created Boulevard Anspach/Anspachlaan (then called Boulevard Central/Centraallaan).
The stock exchange building was erected from 1868 to 1873, when it was inaugurated with a large ball in the presence of King Leopold II, Queen Marie Henriette, and Prince Philippe, Count of Flanders. At the same time, a large square, called the Place de la Bourse/Beursplein was created in front of the building.
Renovations and fire
Over the years, the stock exchange building underwent many renovations. In the period from 1930 to 1950, it was decided to increase the usable area and the incidence of light. On that occasion, a third floor was added and the central side walls on Rue Henri Maus/Henri Mausstraat and Rue de la Bourse/Beursstraat were opened up. The load-bearing parts of the building were reinforced with reinforced concrete to support these renovations.
During the night from Thursday 29 to Friday 30 November 1990, a fire broke out in one of the stockbrokers' cabins on the ground floor of the building. The fire caused a lot of damage. As a result, the stock exchange risked losing its financial activities and its reason for existence. The building was neatly restored, however, automation and acquisitions were already bringing an end to old market practices. In July 1996, all market floor activities disappeared. That year, the cash market was fully digitalised and the daily meeting of stockbrokers and traders therefore became redundant.
Mergers, relocation and future usage
In 1999, a first merger took place with CIK and BELFOX (BELgian Futures and Options Exchange). On 22 September 2000, the BSE merged again with Paris Bourse, Lisbon Stock Exchange and the stock exchanges of Amsterdam, to form Euronext N.V., the first pan-European exchange for equities and derivatives, with common trading and clearing of all products, and was renamed Euronext Brussels. In 2015, this company moved away from the stock exchange building, which had become too large, after the lease was broken by the City of Brussels in 2012. Since then, the premises have occasionally housed temporary exhibitions. The building is to reopen in 2023 as a museum of Belgian beer.
The following timeline outlines the consolidation through mergers and acquisitions among bourses in the European Union, which has taken place since the 1990s in response to financial harmonisation and liberalisation. Current, independent (parent) exchange companies are shown in colour.
The stock exchange building does not have a distinct name, though it is usually called the Palais de la Bourse in French or Beurspaleis in Dutch (or simply Bourse/Beurs). It is located on Boulevard Anspach/Anspachlaan, and is the namesake of the Place de la Bourse/Beursplein, which is, after the Grand Place, the second most important square in Brussels.
The eclectic building mixes borrowings from the neo-Renaissance and Second Empire architectural styles. It has an abundance of ornaments and sculptures, created by famous artists, including the brothers Jacques and Jean-Joseph Jacquet, the French sculptor Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse and his then-assistant Auguste Rodin. Some of the best examples are the group of four allegorical figures on the facade by Guillaume de Groot, symbolising Art, Agriculture, Industry and Science, as well as the friezes by Carrier-Belleuse, in which Rodin may have contributed.
The interior pediment includes caryatids by Antoine Joseph Van Rasbourgh, symbolising Protection, Trade, Art and Victory. The two monumental lion sculptures by Jacquet on each side of the main entrance's staircase (one with its head facing up, the other curved back) represent the two stock market trends (akin to the famous "bull and bear" metaphor), as well as the Belgian Nation.
- "Koersen, Bourse de Bruxelles". Euronext. 4 January 2016. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
- Centre d'information, de Documentation et d'Etude du Patrimoine, Bruxelles, ville d'Art et d'Histoire: Les Boulevards du Centre (1997), p. 28.
- Demey 1990.
- "Beurs verhuisd: 'Buurt niet meer geschikt voor business'". www.bruzz.be (in Dutch). Retrieved 24 May 2020.
- "Euronext Brussel verhuist naar Markiesgebouw". De Tijd (in Dutch). 23 February 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
- Maïthé Chini (19 February 2020). "Brussels Bourse building to be transformed into Beer Museum". The Brussels Times.
- Demey, Thierry (1990). Bruxelles, chronique d'une capitale en chantier (in French). I: Du voûtement de la Senne à la jonction Nord-Midi. Brussels: Paul Legrain/CFC. OCLC 44643865.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to La Bourse/De Beurs.|