Irish tourist breaks Brussels statue a day after building reopens following €90m restoration | The Irish Post

AN IRISH tourist reportedly broke a statue at a famous Brussels landmark, just one day after the building had reopened following a four-year-long restoration costing €90m.

The Bourse, the former home of the Brussels Stock Exchange, reopened last Saturday, September 9 as ‘a cultural and tourist hotspot’, according to the City of Brussels website.

However, it took just 24 hours for one hapless tourist to damage a statue at the 150-year-old building.

Photo op

The Flemish newspaper Nieuwsblad reports that a ‘clearly intoxicated’ Irish tourist wanting a photo tried to climb one of the two lion statues that flank the steps leading to the entrance of the Bourse.

The statues, by sculpture Jean Joseph Jaquet, both feature a man holding a torch standing beside each lion and are said to represent the rise and fall of the stock markets.

In a video capturing the incident, the tourist appears to try and dismount the lion, putting his weight on the arm of the statue of the man as he tries to lower himself onto the plinth.

However, the arm holding the torch then breaks off and falls to the ground, much to the shock of the young man.

According to Nieuwsblad, the tourist was arrested shortly afterwards at a nearby fast-food restaurant.

It adds that the owners of the building will seek compensation for the damage, with the restoration of the lion alone costing €17,600.

Beer museum

Ahead of its reopening on Saturday, the EU — which allocated €18m to the restoration project — hoped the historic building would become a meeting place for locals and tourists.

“Constructed between 1868 and 1873 by the visionary architect Léon-Pierre Suys, La Bourse was intended to embellish an expanding capital city,” read a statement from the EU.

“Few Brussels residents have explored its halls and corridors, as La Bourse gradually closed itself off.

“With this reopening, the City has transformed it into a new meeting place for the people.”

The last permanent tenants of the building left in 2015, after which it was used for occasional exhibitions.

Following its renovation, the site now houses Belgian Beer World, an interactive museum narrating the history of brewing in Belgium and featuring more than 100 Belgian brewers.

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