Rue Royale at the heart of Belgium’s economic history

1822-2015

Themes:

  • Architecture
Document

N° 20 rue Royale in Brussels is home to BNP Paribas Fortis management. The building itself bears witness to the important role the bank has played in the economic and social history of Belgium.

The rue Royale was laid out in 1787 in the neighbourhood known as the Royal Quarter, an area which occupies an essential place in the history of Belgium. Private mansions on three floors were built there on classical, symmetrical lines, with businessmen, lawyers, bankers and politicians making up the majority of the residents.

 

• Bank headquarters

In 1822 William of Orange, King of the Netherlands, founded the Algemeene Nederlandsche Maatschappij (General Netherlands Company) in Brussels with the stated aim of fostering national industry. This financial institution was a forerunner of Société Générale de Belgique and today’s BNP Paribas Fortis. The headquarters was established at N° 3 rue Montagne du Parc, a street which runs at right angles to the rue Royale. Little by little the bank became the owner of all the neighbouring buildings.
In 1934, Belgium passed a law making it mandatory to split up ‘mixed banks’, i.e. financial institutions which combine deposit-taking activities with those of a merchant bank or investment bank that takes stakes in industry. Société Générale de Belgique, which had been a model for this type of bank for around a century, accordingly transferred its non-investment banking activities to a newly-created subsidiary, Banque de la Société Générale de Belgique. As they were now two distinct entities, their premises had to be separated: the holding company took over 20 rue Royale and the Bank occupied premises on the neighbouring streets.

In 1972, in order to meet the new organisational requirements of the company, all the buildings on rue Royale were entirely rebuilt, maintaining however a neo-classical style for the facades and recreating the original decoration of the rooms on the ground floor.

 

• Meeting and reception areas

The ground floor comprises grand meeting rooms and reception areas such as the salle de Lorraine (Lorraine room) and the Tapestry Gallery where eighteenth century tapestries are hung. During World War I the salle des Rois (Kings’ room) hosted the National Committee for Relief and Food whose role was to ensure imports of essential foodstuffs.

 

Go further

Close

Contact us / Send us a document

This website has a cultural and historical purpose; it is not intended to deal with trade and banking relationship issues which will not be processed.

If you have a document, a photo, a story about BNP Paribas history and want to share it, please do not hesitate to share it there.

In transmitting this document, you certify to own it and to hold the property rights needed for their use. You authorize BNP Paribas to use it on the website Source of History.

Thank you for indicate the origin of the documents and give us any information you consider relevant to its understanding.

Close

Suscribe to Well of History's newsletter

The personal data collected from the Site are subject to data processing by BNP Paribas to enable access to and use of the functionalities offered by the Site www.histoire.bnpparibas.
Pursuant to the French Data Protection Law No. 78-17 of 6 January 1978, you are entitled to access the data collected by BNP Paribas and to have it amended, updated or deleted, where such information is incorrect, incomplete or outdated. You can exercise this right by contacting: BNP Paribas – APAC TDC Val de Marne, TSA 30233- 94729 FONTENAY SOUS BOIS Cedex.

Close

Files download

I undertake to make private use of the contents downloaded from the website

OK
Close

You have added an item to your selection.

You can find your saved contents in the “My space” section, which can be accessed at the top right of any page of the website.

My space English A+ A-

To find this content on your next visit, you need to create an account from this section, by clicking on:

Fermer Welcome to

Well of History

Since 1822, history has made us a key player and a witness of transformations taking place in society and economy in Europe and around the world. We invite you to share in our story and explore our archives to learn more about our constantly changing world.
Jean Lemierre Jean Lemierre,
Chairman
of BNP Paribas