1914-1918 : The occupation


Place des Martyrs, 21 July 1915. After one year of occupation, Brussels still wanted to remember national day. As a sign of protest against the occupation, people gathered around the monument erected in memory of the independence fighters of 1830. Brussels was a dead city that day: all cafés and stores were closed. Those that wanted to remain open were forced to close by popular pressure: groups of Belgian “patriots” occupied the streets, throwing stones at the windows. Since August 1914, this was the first time an organized movement openly expressed its engagement with the Belgian cause.