- Vifquain (or Vifquin), Jean-Baptiste-Joseph
- (1789-1854)Jean Vifquain was born in Tournai on 24 June 1789. In 1809, he enlisted in an artillery regiment of the French imperial army and he studied mathematics and engineering in the army and later in Paris. He moved to Brussels in 1815 on appointment to a post to supervise building construction in southern Brabant, and he worked on the building of the Théâtre royal de la Monnaie. His plan for a monument at Waterloo was rejected; however, on 6 October 1818, city officials opened a competition for construction of boulevards on the site of the second town wall, which Vifquain won. He supervised every detail of the work until completion of the thoroughfares. He laid out nearby squares and entrance gates to the city. In August 1819, he introduced gas lighting that ran from place Royale to the banks of the Senne River.Vifquain witnessed opening events of the Belgian Revolution from his house located between Dutch army headquarters and the Parc de Bruxelles, and he served as one of three go-betweens to secure a cease-fire between Dutch troops and patriot forces.Vifquain crafted a plan for, and oversaw construction of, the Brussels-Charleroi Canal and, in 1830, drew up plans for the Léopold district. In 1829 and 1832 he was involved in two projects to link Brussels and Antwerp via a railway. Opposed to the choice of the Allée Verte as the terminus of the first rail line, viewing it as profiting northern suburbs to the detriment of Brussels, he laid out an extension of rue Neuve in 1841 so as to facilitate travelers' access to the center of Brussels. Worn out by overwork, he died in Ivry-sur-Seine, France, on 31 August 1854.
Historical Dictionary of Brussels. Paul F. State.