Jubelpark or Parc du Cinquantenaire
In Brussels - Belgium
Most buildings of the U-shaped complex which dominate the park, were commissioned by King Leopold II and built for the 1880 National Exhibition commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Belgian independence. The centrepiece triumphal arch was erected in 1905. The structures were built in iron, glass and stone, symbolising the economic and industrial performance of Belgium. The surrounding 30 hectare park esplanade was full of picturesque gardens, ponds and waterfalls. It housed several trade fairs, exhibitions and festivals at the beginning of the century. This settled however in 1930 when it was decided that Cinquantenaire would become a leisure park.
Originally it was part of the military exercising ground outside of the center of the city, the so-called "Linthout" plains. For the world exhibition of 1880, the plain was converted to an exhibition center. The original pavilions of the exhibition have now mainly been replaced with the Arch and the large halls on both sides of the arch, leaving only the glass constructed Bordiau halls as a memento of 1880.
The Arch was planned for the world exhibition of 1880 and was meant to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the independence of Belgium. In 1880, only the bases of the columns had been constructed and during the exhibition the rest of the arch was completed with wooden panels. During the following years, the completion of the monument was the topic of a continuous battle between king Leopold II and the Belgian government, who did not want to spend so much money on it. The monument was finally completed by way of private funding in 1905, just in time for the 75th anniversary of the Belgian independence. It is the widest and second highest (after Paris) triumphal arch in the world.