The statue of King Albert the 1st was officially unveiled on Sunday morning, at the roundabout that bears his name in Namur. A representative for King Philippe was present. It is to celebrate 185 years since Belgium proclaimed independence. It was also during the period to commemorate 100years since the First World War. “This war contributed to our Knight-King going down in history”, said mayor Maxime Prévot.
He became the third Belgian King in 1909, after the death of his uncle Léopold II. The Soldier-King was “a great statesman, guided in good faith by what he considered the fundamental interest of the country: neutrality and unity in a calm social and linguistic climate”, said historian Thielemans, who was quoted by Maxime Prévot.
The idea for the statue of the Knight-King and his horse Titanic began in 1937, three years after his death at Marche-les-Dames. Interrupted by the war, the initiative was started up again by the National Trade and Artisanat Confederation in 1950. “This monument is to honour Albert, as a man of science, art, and industry. It is a great way to recognise and pay tribute to the dynasty”, mayor Huart said in 1955. At the time, the statue was being installed in Grognon, part of the Meuse and la Sambre.
Maxime Prévot also spoke about the current period of “political, economic and human unrest”: “we must fight dark forces that sicken our democracy under the pretext of trying to save it. Memory can be a powerful force and of great pertinence in this fight. The number of refugee candidates arriving from war-torn countries must also show us how lucky we are to live in a peaceful country”. Victor Demanet’s statue of Albert the 1st has been restored, and was set up near the CHR on the 8th of September. It is 4.85 metres tall and weighs 5 tonnes.