The statue of Saint Nicholas returned Tuesday to its place on the gable of the Maison Renard at No. 7 Grand Place of Brussels after a 10-year absence. However, this is a bronze replica of the statue. The original was taken to Saint Nicolas Church, located behind the Stock Exchange, after being completely restored.
The statue represents Saint Nicholas resting one hand on his cross while he blessed three children at his feet. It had been taken down for safety reasons in 2008 after a study concluded that it had deteriorated so much that it could no longer be displayed outdoors.
A Flemish company, Remmen, was selected to restore the original, which was installed last Friday in Saint Nicholas Church. “It is dear to me that this statue that is so loved by the people of Brussels is not ending up in storage but in a place that matches its prestige,” said Geoffroy Coomans de Brachène, the Brussels alderman in charge of Patrimony.
The bronze copy was made by the Fonderie d’Art – Art Casting sub-contractor. Coomans stressed that its return was a celebration in style of the 20th anniversary of the inclusion of the Grand Place on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Saint Nicholas is considered the patron saint of haberdashers, a corporation that has owned the house at No.7 Grand Place since 1641. A historical study revealed that a first statue of the saint graced the front of the house since 1737. The one that has just been restored was installed during the massive renovation work done on the Grand-Place in 1883.
The Brussels Times