Belgium: Picturesque Garden of Museum Van Buuren honoured by Commissioner Navracsics

The Local Award Ceremony at the Picturesque Garden of the Museum van Buuren in Brussels, winner of an EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award 2015 in the Conservation category, was held on 22 September 2015 and assembled more than 100 people. Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sports, and Europa Nostra’s Executive President Denis de Kergorlay and Vice-President Piet Jaspaert unanimously praised the remarkable restoration of the Picturesque Garden designed by the Belgian landscape architect Jules Buyssens in 1927-28.

2015 Local Award Ceremony for Picturesque Garden of Museum van Buuren, Brussels, Belgium
The beautiful end of day light which accompanied the ceremony gave the participants the ideal opportunity to walk around and discover the many facets of this exceptional garden. Many heritage and cultural professionals, volunteers and supporters, and various representatives from regional, national and European institutions celebrated the rehabilitation of the Picturesque Garden, an essential part of the Museum van Buuren. The villa itself is internationally recognised as an Art Deco gem.

Tibor Navracsics, Denis de Kergorlay and the President of Europa Nostra Belgium Jozef van Waeyenberge jointly presented the Award plaque to Museum van Buuren’s President Jacques Bedoret.

“I want to congratulate everybody who contributed to the revival of this wonderful garden, which won an EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award this year. Thanks to you, thousands of people are able to enjoy this garden masterpiece even more,” stated Tibor Navracsics.

Referring to the recent acts of barbarism against heritage in some Arab countries, Commissioner Navracsics affirmed: “The senseless pillage and destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq and Syria remind us that we cannot take the world’s cultural heritage for granted. Indeed, we must make every effort to protect it.”

In his address, Denis de Kergorlay stressed the significance of support from across Europe in protecting cultural heritage and recognising it as a strategic social and economic resource.

Anne-Marie Sauvat, the landscape architect in charge of the renovation of the Picturesque Garden, noted the particular character of parks and gardens as ever changing living monuments, subject to the vagaries of climate and human actions, thus making the preservation of their original state more expensive and complicated.

The restoration of the Picturesque Garden was made possible by the strong support of the Brussels-Capital Region. Thierry Wauters, Director of Monuments and Sites, highlighted the constant efforts made by the Brussels-Capital Region to back initiatives for the preservation and enhancement of our shared heritage.

Before the ceremony, the attendees took part in an exclusive guided tour of the Museum van Buuren, which allowed them to gain a better insight into the cultural and artistic world of the van Buurens, enlightened patrons who surrounded themselves with the best representations of various artistic disciplines, including the art of gardening. The Picturesque Garden of the Museum van Buuren is the only relatively complete remnant of the application of the precepts of the Belgian aesthetic of the Nouveau Jardin Pittoresque, of which Buyssens was a founding member. This outstanding conservation work has allowed a classified privately-owned garden open to the public to become a valuable testimony to an aesthetic style of gardening which has almost completely disappeared.

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