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
Across the street from Notre-Dame du Sablon church, we found a small park with statues and a fountain that was gave us a pleasant place to stroll about.
The formal gardens are centered around the fountain that commemorates Counts Egmont and Hornes, who were beheaded for protesting the Spanish Inquisition during the reign of Philip II. Along the sides of the park are 48 bronze statues representing the different guilds from the medieval city. In addition to these statues, there are 12 larger statues surrounding the fountain area, which represent various artists, map makers, and other important men from the 15th and 16th centuries.
There are benches to sit and enjoy your time in the park, or you can walk from one end to the other as you make your way through the city.
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).
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