Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History
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The entrance to the northern Bordiau hall
|Established||June 28, 1923|
|Location||Cinquantenaire Park 3|
|Public transit access||Schuman and Merode station|
|Nearest car park||Museum grounds|
The Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History (French: Musée Royal de l’Armée et d’Histoire Militaire, often abbreviated to MRA, Dutch: Koninklijk Museum van het Leger en de Krijgsgeschiedenis, KLM) is a military museum that occupies the two northernmost halls of the historic complex in Cinquantenaire Park in Brussels, Belgium. The park is set on the continuation of Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat, which starts at the end of Brussels' Park before the Royal Palace.
At the Brussels International Exposition of 1910, a section on military history was presented to the public and met with great success. Given the enthusiasm of the population, the authorities created a military museum within the international context of extreme tension which led to the Great War.[clarification needed] The museum was originally installed on the site of La Cambre Abbey and moved to the Cinquantenaire Park in 1923.
In 1875, the Belgian architect Gédéon Bordiau made a proposal to build flats on the site of a former parade ground of the Garde Civique. The location was named Cinquantenaire in French (literally "50th anniversary") because it was planned as an exhibition space to celebrate the half-century since Belgium's independence in 1830.
Temporary structures were erected on the site for the International Exposition of 1897 as Bordiau's work had not been finished. The construction of buildings was put on hold in 1890 for lack of funds and was eventually stopped by the death of the architect in 1904. Work resumed the following year under the direction of French architect Charles Girault and was completed with a new patron, King Leopold II. The triumphal arch that had already been planned was amended and expanded to meet the wishes of the King.
A fire destroyed the south wing of the building in 1946, part of the Royal Museums of Art and History. The collection pieces were saved, and the burnt wing has since been rebuilt. As for the north wing, home to the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History, it was spared.
The collection originally consisted of a set of exhibits collected by an officer, Louis Leconte. Approximately 900 pieces were brought together, the collection was later heavily enriched by legacies, gifts and exchanges. Leconte was particular in choosing from equipment abandoned by the Germans in 1918 after World War I.
Important developments include the opening of the armour section (1980), the move of the armour collection from the northernmost hall (1986), and the opening of the marine section (1996).
Today, it is possible to find uniforms, weapons, vehicles and military equipment of a number of periods and countries there.
The north wing, built by Gideon Bordiau, has been occupied by the aviation hall since 1972 when the Air and Space gallery was inaugurated. The collection includes various types of aircraft, both military and civilian, some dating back to the early 20th century, while the most recent additions include a F-16 Fighting Falcon and Westland Sea King.
Portrait of Anne François Mellinet (c. 1815, attributed to Jacques-Louis David)
M46 Patton tank in the Museum's outdoor collection
Belgian 1970s' Paracommando diorama
- "The history of the museum". Klm-mra.be. Archived from the original on 3 June 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- "Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and of Military History". Away.com.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Royal Military Museum, Brussels.|
- Official website
- Brussels Air Museum Fund's Photo Album
- Photo Tour of the Aviation Hall
- Brussels Air Museum
- Brussels Air Museum Restoration Society
- Brussels Air Museum Fund