The Ommegang, which  takes place in juli against the magnificent backdrop of the Sablon and the
Grand-Place, is a festivity adored by the inhabitants of Brussels.
The procession dates back to the mid-1300s, when it made its way through the city (which is where its
Dutch name comes from; omme meaning ‘around’ and gaan ‘to go’) to commemorate the miraculous
appearance of a statuette of the Virgin in Brussels, which the crossbowmen then placed in their oratory
on the Sablon.

Photo: Louis-Philippe BREYDEL. Ommegang

Photo: Louis-Philippe BREYDEL. Ommegang

During the Ancien Régime, the entire city took part in the festivities and their preparation. All the city’s
different political, social, cultural, military and religious elements paraded along the streets in a joyous yet
solemn atmosphere on the Sunday before Pentecost. On several occasions, the Ommegang proved to be a
truly exceptional event.

It is in 1549 that the event took its luster, while Charles V received crowned guests from all corners of the empire. Today, this magnificent parade still takes a solemn and talented character, in the heart of the magnificent Grand Place.
During the 17th century, with the decline of the guilds, the procession on the Sablon started to lose
importance. The time for these kinds of celebrations had come and gone, and they became less frequent.
The last one took place in 1785.
The procession was reintroduced in 1930 to celebrate Belgium’s one hundred years of independence. It
was Albert Marinus who took on this responsibility, working closely with an abbot named Desmet (also
the vicar of the Sablon Church), the members of the Grand Serment Royal et de Saint-Georges and the
artists assembled by Constant Montald, who was director of the Royal Academy of Arts at the time.
Nowadays, the Ommegang commemorates the edition that took place in 1549 in the presence of Charles


Charles V

The exhibition, organised by the Centre Albert Marinus and the Coudenberg, displays all the facets of this
renowned event. The public can admire special pieces belonging to museums and private collections,
while works created especially for the occasion by photographer and artist Phil Van Duynen shed a
contemporary light on the exhibition. The exhibition’s very fitting location– the archaeological remains of
the former Palace of Brussels – ties the event together and gives it very special appeal.
COUDENBERG – Former Palace of Brussels
Place des Palais 7 -1000 Brussels (entry via BELvue)
Info: T : +32 (0)70 22 04 92 |
3<5 € | Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. -5 p.m. (> 6 p.m. on weekends)

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