The Heritage Days have a firm reputation in Brussels, but recently there has been an addition to the program which focuses specifically on the women-centered heritage and history of our city. Since 2019, the non-profit organization L’architecture qui dégenre, has started organizing the Journées du Matrimoine (Matrimony Days), with ‘Matrimony’ signifying a ‘tangible or intangible good of artistic or historical importance inherited from women.’
Especially for the Matrimony Days, we have developed a guided walk in the city center that focuses on the feminist elements in the work of the Brontë sisters.
It’s important to note that the sisters supported themselves by working as governesses/teachers and later by writing literary masterpieces (however, they felt they had ‘to walk invisible’ and had to publish under a male pseudonym). Moreover, Charlotte and Emily travelled to Brussels as two young women which showed their courage and Charlotte defied tradition and propriety by falling in love with a married man.
The Brontës are well-known for their liberated minds and long walks on the wild and rugged moors. They have become emblems for many women and girls, writers and readers, … In this walk we focus on the two years these writers lived in Brussels and on the architecture that surrounded them back in that time.
We did the first walks in French and Dutch in September 2022 during the Matrimony Days. It was such a success that the Matrimony Days organization asked us to repeat the walks for the Matrimony Season that runs to June 2023.
We have met many lovely and enthusiast people on these walks and it was good to feel the interest for the Brontës in Brussel growing as well as working together with the people of the Matrimony Days and celebrating women’s heritage in the city together.