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Minieurope as memorial site
The miniature park in Brussels remembers 1914-18

2014, at its 25th anniversary, Minieurope unveiled its "Remember 14-18" trail. This includes links to existing monuments (such as the Mogosoaia palace of Romania) but also 5 models of cemeteries of the battlefields of Sambre an Yser.

Remember 14-18 at Minieurope
Maria Bostenaru 2014 / CC BY
Remember 14-18 at Minieurope
Miniature parks are a special kind of architectural exhibition parks. While walking a small distance visitors can see a large number of monuments, and, from a tourist viewpoint, the wish to see the originals shall emerge. With a new Expo this year in Milan, Italy, we shall have a look at this other kind of parks, and note that also Italy features a miniature park, near Rimini. The Minieurope in Brussels is situated at the feet of the Atomium, the landmark of Brussels which remained from the 1958 Expo, and hence two expo-parks meet here.

Stefan Zweig, the Austrian writer, and Nicolae Iorga, the Romanian historian, were both contemporary to WWI and travelled after it through Europe, including the front lines. Reading their books can give an impression of the sites, but so does also the reconstruction at Minieurope.

The Minieurope in Brussels was inaugurated in 1989, at the fall of the Iron Curtain, but Eastern European countries only brought their models when they adhered to the Union. For example the Romanian pavillion was inaugurated 12 July 2007. Minieurope was thus 25 years old in 2014, when we visited it.
The concept of the park, consisting of 1:25 scale miniature buildings, ordered after the 27 countries of Europe, is underlined by the presence of water - mainly monuments situated in water vicinity were chosen, and, even if they are not, they were situated so in the exhibition. This is not anymore true for the newly adhered countries. Hence Hungary chose to be represented by a water related monument, the Szechenyi spa and baths, but Romania's Mogosoaia is situated near a lake which is not modelled. This lake is part of the Colentina Emerald necklace which is the subject of this year's Le Notre forum, but not in the area of Bucharest, hence not included.
The Mogosoaia palace, about which we wrote in the news (, represents Romania. The palace is in Brancovenesc style, and, as written in that article, 2014 marked 300 years from the martyrium death of Constantin Brancoveanu. Also an exhibition on this architecture arrived to the European Parliament in Brussels in November 2014, other events being held in Romania. The building is one having connection to WWI through the activity Marthe Bibesco had here during the war, working in hospitals while residing in the palace. Such are a few other models, for example the Liberty statue from Riga, connected to independence after WWI, and 14 others, as included in the guide booklet.
This seeming not strong enough, 2014 there was an innitiative to create WWI related models. These are the models of cemeteries of heroes. We wrote previously about how the landscape heritage of cemeteries is being valued (, and also Romania features a heroes cemetery the anniversary of which was in 2014 (25 years). The cemeteries included in the Minieurope 14-18 trail are from five of the cemeteries on the battlefields of the Sambre an Yser. 

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30. Jan 2015
Reported by Maria BOSTENARU DAN


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