On the same day in 1914 that the German army launched an attack on Brussels, the Cortázar family was celebrating the birth of their son Julio in Ixelles.
The parents, José and Maria, had moved to Belgium from Argentina after Julio’s father was given a job in the Argentinian embassy. They were living in an apartment at 116 Avenue Louis Lepoutre, just off the leafy Place Brugmann, when Julio was born.
The family didn’t stay long in Belgium. After the German army took over the city, they moved to neutral Switzerland. And by 1919, the Cortázars were back in Buenos Aires.
Cortázar later became an important Argentinian writer. His short stories inspired several cult movies, including Blowup and Weekend.
On 26 May 2005, the ambassador of Argentina unveiled a monument to Cortázar on Place Brugmann below the apartment where Julio Cortázar was born.
Derek Blyth’s hidden secret of the day: Derek Blyth is the author of the bestselling “The 500 Hidden Secrets of Belgium”. He picks out one of his favourite hidden secrets for The Brussels Times every day.