Edited by Denise Mattia
From the child who still has everything to discover to the oldest inquisitive onlooker or art-lover, Mons, Belgium will be the European Capital of Culture in 2015. Thanks to the contributions by ING, The National Lottery, the Federation Wallonia-Brussels, the Walloon Region, the Province of Hainaut, the City of Mons and the Melina Mercouri Foundation, the city will have five new interconnected museums, which will provide a focal point for its art and heritage collections.
Mons Memorial Museum will open in ‘Machine-à-Eau’, a stunning backdrop of brick, steel and glass created by the Mons-born architect Joseph Hubert and built in 1870-1871. The building will become the centre of a new “Memorial Region”, a living space that will extend beyond the city centre, including in particular, the Saint Symphorien Military Cemetery.
UNESCO-listed heritage sites will be framed by other museums: the neolithic flint mines of Spiennes, Le SILEX’S – Spiennes: One of the eldest and biggest archaeological sites in Europe, recognised by UNESCO in 2000. The centre will explain all the aspects of this archaeological site. The belfry: Constructed between 1661 and 1672, the Mons belfry was recognised by UNESCO in 1999. It is the only baroque belfry in Europa and has 365 steps, is 87 metre high and has 49 clocks. In 2015 it will welcome a centre for interpretation about the history of this remarkable construction. Le Musée du doudou: new museum opening in the city centre of Mons, dedicated to the UNESCO protected the annual popular “ Doudou” festival, the unmistakable Ducasse of Mons.
With two brand-new concert halls (Arsonic and Alhambra), the extension of the Mundaneum and an across-the-board renovation programme, including Art Nouveau pearl ‘La Maison Losseau’, the city is getting nicely prepared and is bursting with activity, as it will stage a hundred artistic and cultural events in 2015.
In keeping the memory of Vincent van Gogh alive, 2015, the year which marks 125 years since his death, will be for Van Gogh Europe and its network of partners the opportunity to present “125 years of inspiration,” a pilgrimage, encompassing places thoughout Europe which shaped the painter and his art throughout his life.
As a thriving economic zone, a region that keeps moving forward, Mons is keen to give visitors a warm welcome during its “Mons 2015, European Capital of Culture.”
About Denise Mattia
A writer and photographer, Denise Mattia’s works are published nationally and internationally and include all aspects of leisure travel: art , culture, resorts, spas, food and wine and sports’ activities. She's the founder of the soon to be launched Yum-Yum-Traveler, a site devoted to reviewing restaurants in addition to her travel articles from around the world. She lives and works in Manhattan, where she was born.