- World's Fair of 1935
- The Exposition universelle et internationale of 1935 was the largest of the expositions to date to be held in Belgium. The initiative for the fair began in 1922 with the creation of a committee brought about largely at the urging of Burgomaster Adolphe Max. An organizing body was incorporated in 1925 and 20 million Belgian francs raised. Additional sums were secured by a national lottery and government subsidies. King Albert I served as patron of the project.A site was approved and a law of 29 July 1927 authorized the state to cede to the city 125 ha (250 acres) on the Heysel plateau in Laeken. The city undertook to construct the avenue des Croix du Feu, widen the avenue Van Praet, and dig a roadway under the avenue de la Reine opposite the Royal Church of Laeken to secure access to the grounds. The Stade de Heysel was built in 1930.The fair opened officially on 27 April with the royal family in attendance. Luxurious parks, gardens, fountains, and an artificial lake dotted the grounds. Six small trains traversed the fair. No one architectural style dominated among the buildings constructed, although a definite art deco atmosphere prevailed. The monumental Palace contained the bulk of Belgian exhibits and a Palace of Science comprised the Planetarium, seating 500, featuring a reproduction of the movement of the stars, and the Alberteum, a physics exhibit. The Palace of Art, constructed of permanent materials, housed the collection "Five Centuries of Art 1400-1900" that proved immensely popular, with works by Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso, among others. An international film festival was held, and an early demonstration of television was featured.Twenty-five countries displayed exhibits in national pavilions while those that did not build separate facilities, such as Germany and the United States, were housed in the international hall.Obligatory for fairs in Brussels by 1935, an "Old Brussels" (Au vieux Bruxelles) was constructed to reproduce a district of the city from the time of Charles of Lorraine. The city of Brussels erected a pavilion and works of Brussels painters as well as tapestries assembled from many museums were on display.The fair closed on 6 November having attracted some 20 million visitors.See also Parc des Expositions.
Historical Dictionary of Brussels. Paul F. State.