Place du Petit Sablon, Brussels
The little park Place du Petit Sablon was opened in 1890. It is situated opposite the road from church Notre Dame du Sablon.
In the middle of the park is a statue showing the two earls Egmont and Hoorn who were both executed in 1568 on Grand Place after having joined the rebellion against king Philip II.
There are 10 statues in the park showing 16th century persons. 9 bushes of box represent the original 9 Belgian provinces.
Around the park there are 48 columns, all of them showing different craftsmen in typical clothes and with typical tools for their craft.
Opposite the Eglise Notre-Dame du Sablon is this pretty little garden. 48 statues line it's boundary to represent the medieval guilds. In the centre is a fountain topped with statues of the counts of Hoorn and Egmont who participated in the Iconoclastic Fury and the Confederacy of Noblemen in 1565. They were executed in the Grand Place on the orders of Phillip II of Spain for their troubles. The statue was originally on the front of the Maison du Roi in the Grand Place to mark their place of execution, but was moved here in 1890.
“Sire, This morning I have heard the sentence which Your Majesty has been pleased to pass upon me. Far as I have ever been from attempting anything against the person or service of your majesty, or against the true, old, and Catholic religion, I yet submit myself with patience to the fate which it has pleased God to ordain I should suffer.
Your Majesty’s most faithful vassal and servant, Lamoral, Count Egmont
Brussels, 5.June.1568, near my last moments”
— from the letter Lamoral, Count Egmont, sent to Philip II of Spain
SUFFERING HIS FATE Lamoral, Count of Egmont (1522-1568) and Philippe de Montmorency, Count de Hoorne (1518-68) were among the nobles and commoners rebelling against what they saw as the hardships that the Spanish overlords had brought to the Low Countries. Egmont and Hoorne were imprisoned in Maison du Roi; tried; found guilty; and beheaded in Grand-Place. The men are celebrated as leaders in Belgium’s fight for independence. The 1864 monument that stands at on end of the park (see photo #5), in the Flemish Neo-Renaissance style, designed by Charles-Auguste Fraikin (1817-1893), depicts the Counts of Egmont and Hornes, executed on the scaffold on 5.June.1568, because they stood up to Spanish tyranny. The monument, first stood in Grand-Place in front of Maison du Roi, was moved to Petit-Sablon in 1899.
Place du Petit Sablon Square, a small enchanting park created in 1879, is ringed by 48 short Gothic columns, joined by a wrought iron fence. Each column is topped by a bronze statuette representing an occupation of the Medieval trade guilds. This spot offers an excellent chance to relax in between sightseeing and shopping on the nearby Place du Grand Sablon. The garden faces the magnificent Church of Our Lady of the Sablon, presenting a delightful view of the church (see photo #3). Palais du Justice, Place Royale, the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Ancient Art are nearby.
“The crimes of which the counts are accused relate to the affairs of the Belgian provinces, and he, the duke, was appointed by the king sole judge of all matters connected with those countries.”
— Don Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alva (1507-1582) Governor of the Spanish Netherlands, his response to the petitions issued by the Knights of the Golden Fleece in Spain, Germany, and Italy to prove that Count Egmont and Count Horn, both members, could not be tried because of the privileges of the order. Alva rejected them with a declaration that they had no force in such a case.
The monument at the far end of Place du Petit Sablon, in the Flemish Neo-Renaissance style, was designed by Charles-Auguste Fraikin (1817-1893) in 1864. It shows Lamoral, Count of Egmont (1522-1568) and Philippe de Montmorency, Count de Hoorne (1518-1568), who were executed on the scaffold on 5.June.1568 because of their resistance to what they and others saw as Spanish tyranny. The monument had been set up on the Grand-Place (the place of the execution) at first, in front of the Maison du Roi (the place of the imprisonment). It was transferred to the Place du Petit Sablon in 1899.
My dad took a bunch of photos of the 48 bronze statuettes, each representing a different medieval guild.
My mother labeled the clockmaker correctly, as well as the fisherman. She called one of them a street sweeper and I have found a picture of that one and he is a bleacher. The last photo I have not been able to identify the guild - he has an auger in his belt so my mother called him a carpenter, but the carpenter is supposed to have a chair or a saw.
Access: Rue de la Régence (Petit Sablon Square)
Open: all year
Date of creation: 1879
We first sighted these gardens during our Hop On Hop Off bus tour as the bus stopped in traffic directly outside the gardens. I immediately said we will return later and spend some time in this small but beautifully laid out park.
We returned next day to enjoy the park and its 48 bronze statutes, each one representing a different medieval guild of the city. The gardens were established in 1890 and the centre point is a fountain with statutes to commemorate Counts Egmont and Hornes.
When we visited in early September the gardens were in splendid condition with many colourful flower beds, roses and shady trees. In fact we rested on the benches beneath the trees.
This is a lovely little park with statues of old Belgian heroes around it. I really liked this place, looked like a place to take a break and read a book maybe! How about buying a Tintin comic and coming up here? Sounds like a very Belgian experience (if you bring either chocolate, beer or chips that is ;)
Beautiful park with impressive fountain topped by a sculpture of the Counts Egmont and Hornes who were executed in 1568. The Royal Music Conservatory is nearby and when I was there you could hear music coming from the building. A magical little park!
The Petit and Grand Sablon ("sand pile") is one of my favourite city centre parts. You get to see the Notre Dame church (see tip) and are close to the Marolles district with its wonderful shops here and the square itself is just such a particular place to stroll around with its antique shops, chocolatiers and nice town houses with the odd restaurant or bar, The Grand Sablon is lined with antique market stalls for Christmas and other occasions, whilst the Petit Sablon has a little park with statues of significant people such as the Belgian cartographer Mercator (see my Duisburg page for more on him).
This little park is a real eye catching gem it is situated in Sablon Square where forty eight little statues ring both the square and the park. I will place a picture of the statues in an albulm as I realise while writing I did not include one. The park is small but well tended with many statues of Counts of Brussels framed by natures best greenery. The centre piece is a statue and water fountain commemorating the Counts of Egmont and Hoorne who were executed in the nearby Market Place by order of Philip ll of Spain in 1568. We enjoyed our stroll around here - a little bit of peace a step from a noisy city.
The Sablon is one of the most prestigious and attractive areas in Brussels. In recent years it has become the center of the antiques shops and art galleries.
The name of this area refers to the time when it was still situated outside of the city walls of the 12th century. It was originally a sandy road along which people had access to the city gates. Because of frequent use this road had become hollow and on both sides a yellowish earth layer could be seen. This type of sandy clay was called 'zavel' in Dutch and "sablon" in French. In the 14th century a small chapel in the sablon area was transformed into an important pilgrimage site where a miraculous statue of Our Lady was venerated. Very soon the area became more populated and was enclosed within the 14th century city walls. Around 1450 the little chapel had been transformed into a beautiful gothic church, the Sablon church or church of Our Lady of the Victories.
In the center is the statue of the counts of Egmont and Hoorne who were executed at the Market Place by order of Philip II of Spain in 1568.
Nowadays, the Sablon is visited by lovers of antiques and art because the entire area boasts hundreds of antiques shops and art galleries.
Continuous list of the statues of Petit Sablon:
33. Lumberjack – Albert Hambresin
(attribute = saw)
34. Knife makers – Julien Renoodeyn
(attribute = Knife)
Barrel makers – Jules Courroit
35. Sewers and fur handlers – Armand Cattier
(attribute – fur coat)
36. Carpenter – Aug. Van den Kerckhove
(attribute – compas)
37. Carpenters, fourniture makers - Aug. Van den Kerckhove
38. Gallon and decoration – Emile Namur
39. Blacksmith – Emile Namur
40. Dairy and poultry merchants – Polydoor Comeyn
(attribute – dead goose and bottle)
41. Glove makers - Louis van Biesbroeck
(attribute = gloves and scissors in the belt)
42. Paper gold painters – Louis van Biesbroeck
(attribute = Palette, pencil and cup)
43. Milner – Guillaume Charlier
(attribute = Mill’s wheel and Mill)
44. Merchants of brined fish – Charles Geefs
(attribute = Fish and little barrel)
45. Butchers – Edmond Lefever
(attribute = Butcher’s knife and more knives at the belt)
46. Tapestry weaver – Albert Desenfans
(attribute = Spool and thread)
47. Brewers – Emile Namur
(attribute = Oven spoon)
48. Bakers – Emile Namur
(attribute = Oven scoop)
Continuous list of statues at Petit Sablon:
21. Second hand cloths sellers – A. van den Kerckhove
(attribute – hat and piece of tissue)
22. Carpenter – A. van den Kerckhove
23. Sailors – Edouard Laborne
(attribute paddle, ropes and anchor)
24. Wool weavers and sellers – Benoit Wante
25. Tailors – Armand Cattier
(attributes – cloth and scissors)
26. Saddle and wagon makers – Robert Fabry
(attributes = saddle)
27. Vegetables and fruit sellers – Albert Hambresin
(Attribute = fruit basket)
28. Painters, goldsmiths and glass makers – A.-J. Van Rasbourgh
(attribute = palette and brush)
29. Locks and clock makers – J. Cuypers
(attribute = keys and clock)
30. Wine tradesman – Albert Hambresin
(attributes = bottles, can and barrel)
31. Tissue sellers and socks fabricants – Robert Fabry
(attributes - tissue and socks at the belt)
32. Barbers - K.J. Martens
(attributes = can and instrument box)
At the Petit Sablon you will find this little cosy park. The fence around the park is decorated with many little statues, all representing a profession, 48 in total!
I will start to try to sum them up but be patient! 48 is a lot!
1. Profession of the four crowned - Godefroid van den Kerckhove.
This was the name of the guilt of people who build stone houses, cut stone, cut statues and sold lime stone.
2. Swords makers, sweepers and helmet makers, - Godefroid van den Kerckhove.
A young guy is looking at a sword and has a helmet lying in front of him.
3. Tin workers and plumbers -Jean Cuypers.
4. Roof makers - Albert Desenfans.
5. Bleachers - Jef Lambeaux.
(attribute = a shuffle)
6. Kettle makers; copper and bronze workers - Jef Lambeaux
(attributes = a pot, a can and a hammer)
7. Fabricants of chairs, baskets, plastering and people who covers roofs with reed - Antoine Van Rasbourgh.
8. Hat and liquor fabricants -Jean Cuypers.
(attribute = a hat)
9. Leader fabricants and animal skin workers - Albert Desenfans.
(attribute = a cow skin)
10. Chairs in Spanish leader and wits fabricants - Jules Courroit.
(attribute = a chair)
11. Gunpowder and gun fabricatns – Jean Van den Kerckhove
12. Shoe repairer/maker – Jean Laumans
(attributes = a couple of shoes)
13. Fish sales men – Jean Laumans
(attributes = a fishnet and fish)
14. Boots makers – Louis van Biesbroeck
(attributes = boots and shoes)
15. Sheep shavers and sellers – Eug. De Plyn
(attributes – scissors)
16. Wool painters – Charles Geefs
(attributes – the can in his hand, the barrel and the stove)
17. Belt makers and needle fabricants – Antoine Van Rasbourgh.
(attribute = a belt)
18. Thread and wool sellers – Polydoor Comeyn
(attribute = bascule and wool)
19. Blacksmith – Louis Eugène Cambier
(attribute = hammer)
20. Flax and linen sellers – Eug. De Plyn
I would recommend a walk to the Kleine Zavel or as they call it in French Le Petit Sablon.
It is really a very nice little park.
There are a lot of little statues put around the iron fence. They all represent an occupation.
Try to find out which one it is!
It is a nice place to park your bicycle, if you are courageous enough to cycle through Brussels (see my transportation tips). It is also a nice little oasis to take your lunch bag and enjoy your sandwiches on one of the benches around the little fountain in the middle.
During the Middle Ages, the Sablon was a wasteland outside the Southern edge of the first city wall.
In the Eastern part, what is now known as Petit Sablon, was a grave yard for the Saint Johns hostpital. I write the year 1299 as the inauguration of this cemetery.
In 1304 a part of this territory was donated to build the Church you see at the opposite of the Petit Sablon. It is Our Lady’s church of the Sablon.
In 1704 the cemetery was dismissed (by Emperor Joseph II of Austria?).
Due to urbanisation of the area – new houses; streets; making of the square around the Church – the area became divided in two parts: big and small, Sablon and Petit Sablon.