Journey back to the time of Emperor Carolus V in Brussels


In 2012, for the first time in their history, VISITBRUSSELS, the Ommegang and the Coudenberg are joining forces to devise a tourism program that will give a boost to Brussels’ reputation and national and international visibility in the field of culture and heritage around the theme of Carolus V and his age. The aim is to build on the cooperation around this theme from one year to the next to cater to the demands of history buffs and heritage lovers. 

What’s the program?

Sunday 20 May from 10am to 6pm: Coudenberg Palace celebrates Carolus V and the Ommegang

An activity-filled family day out awaits you in the Coudenberg Palace, which was home to Carolus V. The programme includes an introduction to Renaissance dancing, a meeting with the Ommegang characters, guided tours, games dating from Breughel’s time, creation of heraldry, a costume workshop, etc. 

From 22 May to 28 June: “Historic nights” at the Coudenberg

Discover the underground world that lies beneath the place Royale and journey back in time to the time of Carolus V. This is an original way of reliving this rich period in our history, from the Renaissance to its reinterpretation in the 19th century. A world of legends, music, dancing, food and city trails. Brussels is never short of surprises! 

Week of 2 to 5 July: The Ommegang procession

The Ommegang (“walk around” in old Flemish) is Brussels’ oldest historical evocation. It dates back to the 14th century and was originally a procession in honour of Our Lady of the Sablon. It took on another dimension when, on 2 June 1549, the authorities of the city of Brussels turned it into a festival in honor of the visit of Charles V and of his son the Infante Philippe, a festival that drew the participation of the guilds, the crafts, the notables, the nobility and clergy.

Why Carolus V?

Many consider this emperor as a precursor of European unity. But let’s not exaggerate: he waged war three times on François I, the King of France, and his relationship with Henry VIII, the King of England, was no less stormy. But we can be sure of one thing at least, it was under the reign of François I, Henry VIII and Carolus V that Medieval Europe stepped into the Modern Age and, of these three sovereigns, Carolus V wielded most power.

Source = Visit Belgium
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