BOZAR is nothing short of an institution in Brussels and beyond.
The Centre for Fine Arts is just that—a place where all manner of artistic endeavours can be played out. It opened in 1928 and was quiet a challenge for Belgian Art Nouveau architect and designer Victor Horta—not just because of its vastness but because it had to be built into the hill, connecting the upper part of town to the lower via the Mont des Arts, as part of his overall plan for the district.
The BOZAR labyrinth
The building does work as a whole but it can feel a little bit like a labyrinth as you seek out one or other of the three concert halls, exhibition spaces, and various lecture rooms. There’s a handy little map to help you though and there’s always someone with a BOZAR badge available to take you by the hand if you have a lost look on your face. The place is very bright and both high and low there are exquisite details—all designed by Horta himself.
The venue promotes music, art exhibitions, cinema, dance, theatre, literature and architecture and has a strong connection with education through its smaller studio spaces. It also gives its spaces over to themed festivals, such as the recent Balkan Trafik and Europalia.
A treasure trove to explore
The BOZAR is a treasure trove of CDs, DVDs and Art Books. It is ironic that Victor Horta claimed his “palace” would not be worthy of the name since the local commune insisted on there being retail outlets on the ground floor facing the Gravenstein gallery—the entire commercial space is now devoted to the BOZAR shop and a brasserie.