Brussels Statue Supposedly Damaged by Irish Tourist

Brussels Statue, Recently Restored, Was Supposedly Damaged by Irish Tourist After Which the Authorities Arrested Him.

Sep 15, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Brussels Statue
Exterior of the Brussels Stock Exchange building in Belgium. GETTY IMAGES


Brussels statue, located at the Brussels Stock Exchange, suffered damage caused by the Irish tourist. A young Irishman climbed this recently restored lion monument, and he managed to knock down a part of it. With this he caused several thousand euros in losses. Then, the Brussels police arrested him while he was sitting at a fast-food diner. The incident took place on Sunday.


Brussels Statue Destroyed by a “clearly intoxicated” Tourist

Brussels Statue
A newly-renovated statue outside the Bourse. Via Irish Times.


The authorities renovated the monument as an element of the Place de la Bourse’s heritage remediation, with a €90 million undertaking. Irishman destroyed the monument just a day after the restauration finished. The administration of the bourse expects the young man make payments for the renovations. Local media outlets says the tourist was “clearly intoxicated”.


He tried to take a photo, but instead he damaged the statue. A video on the internet depicts the young man climbing carefully and cautiously over the monument while wearing a T-shirt and shorts. The statue has an unclothed man seated next to a lion while carrying an illuminated torch.


The Brussels Royal Museum
Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. Wikipedia


According to reports, he did not realise that he harmed the monument in any way. “An Irish tourist climbed onto one of the statues at the Brussels Stock Exchange building. Police arrived at the scene [and] a police report was drawn up against the tourist. When he wanted to get back down, he broke a piece of the statue”, a Brussels Police spokeswoman said.

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The Building’s Architect Was Upset

blaton tower
Blaton Tower designed by Blaton Company, 1968, photograph by Luna Macken, via Université Libre de Bruxelles


The lion’s repair bill was €17,600. A recent extensive renovation operation included the addition of a co-working area and a beer exhibit to the historical Bourse structure. On Saturday, a variety of unique events were held to celebrate the opening of the recently refurbished facility, and guests were invited to partake in Belgian beer as part of the festivities.


Nel Van De Vannet, architect and CEO of the Brussels Stock Exchange Renovation Project, told RTÉ Morning Ireland on Thursday morning that the site is “symbolically important” and often used as a gathering place for both happy and sad times. The occurrence has left her and her teammates “very, very sad and upset”.


brussels central station
Brussels Central Station designed by Victor Horta, 1913-1952, via The Belgian Inventory of Architectural Heritage (Inventaire du Patrimoine Architectural)


“For us, it’s a bit of a sad moment to see now after these three years of restoration where we know the sculpture and time it took to restore it is now broken off after two days of opening. It will take probably two months again before we can see the whole lion with the hand intact again. Again, it’s a long process”, she said.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.