The Brussels Stock Exchange building is one of the best known building in Brussels. The square it is located in (Beursplein in Dutch, or Place de la Bourse in French) is the second most important square in Brussels. The Grand Place (Grote Markt in Dutch) is of course the most well known square. The Brussels Public Funds Stock Exchange was founded on July 2, 1801, although the building that currently houses the exchange did not begin construction until 1869. Architect Léon Suys designed the new structure, which was completed in 1874.
The building features an impressive mix of Neo-Renaissance and Second Empire architectural styles. Numerous artists worked on the sculptures found in both the interior and exterior of the exchange. Two lions are situated on both sides of the stairs which lead up to the front of the building. Each lion is ridden by what is said to be a spirit. One lion looks up while the other assumes a more downward position. This symbolizes the rising and falling of stock in the market. These lions were sculpted by the brothers Joseph and Jacques Jacquet. Just past the lions eight columns support an entablature (the entablature is the area on top of the columns). The lower part of the entablature is decorated with flowers and fruits, which symbolize abundance. The triangle area found a little higher is called the pediment. The pediment of the Brussels Stock Exchange features many beautiful carvings. The central figure represents Belgium. Joseph Jacquet is responsible for these sculptures. Guillaume De Groot, Victor De Haen, Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse and Antoine-Joseph Van Rasbourgh also worked on the various sculptures.
Since its completion in 1874, a great deal of additional work has been done to the stock exchange. Major renovation work was required after a fire broke out in November of 1990. The fire damage alone was substantial, but the soot of the fire covered every square inch of the building. This incident almost caused the Brussels Stock Exchange to close, and the future of the building was in jeopardy. Fortunately, the architectural firm Trio was able to renovate the damaged infrastructure. It was necessary to walk a fine line between installing modern, functioning office buildings and respecting the classical architecture. This challenge was successfully met, with spacious and aesthetically coherent offices now found inside the building. The Brussels Stock Exchange can be easily reached by metro, as it is located right by the Bourse/Beurs station.