Breaking: Fire at Brussels concert hall

Breaking: Fire at Brussels concert hall


norman lebrecht

January 18, 2021

We’re getting reports of a fire in the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels. It has clearly gone through the roof.

First indications are that the concert hall is no longer in danger, but there is an exhibition of original Beethoven manuscripts which is under threat.

UPDATE: The building is undergoing renovation. The architect has warned there could be serious damage. Report here.


  • JussiB says:

    sounds like an insurance job like La Fenice.

    • CJ says:

      The fire at La Fenice was not at all “an insurance job”, it was arson by the electricians, who were running late with their works, were thus risking a fine according to the contract, and thought that nobody would know if there was no opera house any more. They have been arrested and condemned (though not enough IMHO, because it was such a pity, the most beautiful opera house in the most beautiful city in the world in ashes).
      It has been very well reconstructed, though, and it’s a very well managed opera house, I love it.

  • R. Brite says:

    Renovations seem to pose particular risk: in France alone they were involved in fires in recent years at Notre Dame, the old Bibliothèque Nationale and the Hôtel Lambert mansion in Paris, as well as Nantes’ Saint Donatien Basilica, to name just a few off the top of my head.

  • Christopher Clift says:

    I played there in the late 60s to mid 70s (I forget precisely when) and it was like a ‘grand dame’ of concert halls. What a shame it will be if it has been irreparably damaged.

  • Nick2 says:

    Words fail me! Why is it that quite a number of major buildings under renovation end up with serious fires? Are contractors so inefficient as not to install the latest anti-fire equipment? Does no one supervise them? Now it is Brussels. Recently it was the Basilica of Notre Dame. Still sadly in the memory are the two fires which may have destroyed forever the irreplaceable Rennie Mackintosh Glasgow School of Art. 12 years ago it was the Berlin Phiharmonie.