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Before the Bubble: A snapshot of Brussels in 1908

Credit: Prelinger Archive/Rick88888888/youtube

A newly published video by a Dutch YouTuber has used restored and recoloured archives to create a snapshot of Brussels in 1908, the final year of the reign of King Leopold II.

The eight-minute video features familiar landmarks such as Grand Place, Bourse, Parc Cinquantenaire, and even the Palace of Justice without the scaffolding, but that’s not all.

“It was a time when no cars were on the streets yet, only horse and carriages and early electric trams,” the video’s creator explained. “Today Brussels is the residence of the European Parliament that forms the centre of the cooperation of the countries of the European Union.”

This change is most strikingly visible when the footage shows a Rue de la Loi flanked by residential looking buildings, in stark contrast to the sleek glass offices that many have come to associate with the area in the present day.

You see, this was all filmed over 50 years before the construction of the Berlaymont began in 1963. There’s not a flag in sight.

The film was created through the use of motion stabilisation, speed correction, and colourisation using Artificial Intelligence software.