After the closing of Belgische Haus: what will the future bring?

In autumn 2015 the Belgian foreign ministry publically announced the permanent closing of Belgische Haus. Below, we document what has happened in Belgische Haus ever since then and how it will go on – with the house in Cäcilienstraße and with the association “Freunde des Belgischen Hauses e.V.“. Current events of “Freunde des Belgischen Hauses e.V.“ are as follows:

July 2018

Belgische Haus will Temporarily House the Romano-Germanic Museum

We are confident and optimistic! The Romano-Germanic Museum will relocate to Belgische Haus during the refurbishment of the museum building at Roncalliplatz. Belgische Haus thus will be rented temporarily as of 1 January 2019. The large listed hall will remain available for cultural events. We are glad that Belgische Haus thus will remain a scientific and cultural venue for the next couple of years. We as „Freunde des Belgischen Hauses e.V.“ will spare no effort to make ourselves feel a little like coming home as of 2019.

3. January 2018

2018: “Wir bleiben am Ball!” - We keep it rolling!

Dear members,

You might ask yourself... what will happen to Belgische Haus? Might it become a hotel? A museum? Or might it disappear altogether? What will happen to the auditorium? What will happen to everything we left behind in Belgische Haus on December 21, 2015?

The fact is that in 2016 and 2017 we continued on other stages and kept alive the spirit of Belgische Haus in Cologne.

Where have we been?
In “Altes Pfandhaus”, in “Literaturhaus Köln” and at “Balthasar’s” in “Agnesviertel”, at Cologne University, at “Maria’s Eetcafé” and in other places.

What have we done?
We continued our concert series “Belgian Jazz in Cologne”. We organised other concerts as well. We enabled readings of authors, organised dinners and tables for regular guests. We visited Belgische Haus on the open monument day. We made our voice heard at the Cultural Council Cologne and by the mayor herself.  We will continue to fight for our beliefs that Cologne shall not give up and loose its first and unique international meeting point, its place of mutual understanding and reconciliation with other, not just German and Belgian ways of living and thinking.

Belgische Haus was sold in 2017. Fortunately, it was sold to investors from Cologne, who will certainly cherish this place.

What will happen in 2018?
Whether Belgische Haus will become a hotel or will be leased out to the Roman and Germanic museum – we don’t know. What counts is our aim to preserve Belgische Haus and its spirit, to promote international encounters among different cultures in an open-minded and curious atmosphere.

We hope that the terms of use negotiated as a matter of principle between the proprietor and the City of Cologne will ultimately offer a stage for Belgian and international artists and cultural workers again.

But this will take time as, after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. And as we already announced back in 2015: 2018 won’t be the end of the world. We shall carry on!

On this note, dear members, and on behalf of the entire Board I wish you a very Happy New Year.

Veerle Waeterloos
1. Chairwoman