Belgium will issue new stamps to honour six of its historic covered shopping galleries and passages in the country: two each in Wallonia, Flanders and Brussels.
These architectural gems, often much loved by residents and tourists alike, are public spaces where you can find shops and sometimes even homes. Now the Belgian postal company bpost is paying tribute to six of these most iconic arcades on its latest stamps, presented in the form of engraving.
"The issue highlights the architectural beauty of six arcades and galleries in Belgium. The star of the special issue is Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert (in Brussels city centre), whose picture window is the main illustration on the sheetlet."
In addition to Saint-Hubert, Brussels is also represented by the Passage du Nord. In 1881, the many attractions of this lighted shopping arcade connecting Rue Neuve and Boulevard Adolphe Max included 32 caryatides: stone carvings of female figures.
Also on the limited-edition sheet is the Passage de la Bourse in Charleroi – one of the jewels in the crown of Walloon architecture designed by Belgian architect Edmond Legraive. The arcade was built between 1890 and 1892 and connects the neighbourhood around South station to Place Albert I.
The second Walloon arcade is the passage Lemonnier in Liège – the "grande dame" of Belgian arcades. It was built between 1836 and 1838 by architects Louis-Désiré Lemonnier and Henri-Victor Beaulieu and is one of the gems specially selected for discerning philatelists and stamp users everywhere.
On the Flemish side, the Stadsfeestzaal in Antwerp will blow people away with the impressive gilding and decorative moulding adorning the interior walls – which is why it is now also being honoured on a stamp.
Last but not least, the James Ensor gallery in the Glazenstraat in Ostend is a smaller architectural gem that was renovated in 2016.
This limited-edition stamp sheetlet is available from eShop and the Brussels and Mechelen Philaboutiques. Price: €13.60.