Friday, 20 March 2009

New picture of Isabelle quarter

Some months ago I found a new picture of the Quartier Isabelle on the Internet, on a website where old postcards are sold.
This was of course an interesting find. However, my first thought was that it does not look like the old quarter, and I can think of no place in it that looks like this. Selina Busch, who also knows the quarter pretty well, had no idea either.

There can, therefore, be no doubt that this is a postcard from the 1935 Brussels World Exhibition, at which they created a ‘Vieux Bruxelles’, with an Isabelle Street. This I found out several years ago, but subsequent research at the Royal Library showed me that this new Isabellastraat did not look in any way like the old one. The way in which the people on the pictures are dressed certainly supports this. The costumes look as if they date from the 18th century.

Still, it is a nice little discovery. The story behind it also shows the old Rue d’Isabelle was not destined to be forgotten.

Eric Ruijssenaars