Karen_Vannieuwenhuyze - Onderzoekschool Politieke Geschiedenis

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Using   and   Producing   Urban   Political   Space:   J.F.   Loos   in   formal   and   informal   19th-­‐ century  Antwerp  (paper  International  Conference  Political  History,  Leiden,  4-­‐6  September  2014)   -­‐  Karen  Vannieuwenhuyze      

Introduction     th The   proposed   research   focuses   on   the  Antwerp   city   council   of   the   long   19   century   (1830-­‐1914)   and   its   use   of   existing   and   production   of   new   (im)material   urban   spaces   to   consolidate,   express   and   expand   its   political   influence  and  power.  Which  urban  and  architectural  structures  were  involved  in  the  campaign  and  propaganda   of   the   municipality?   Were   there   areas   or   quarters   which   were   of   great   importance   for   the   Antwerp   political   elite  and  vice  versa,  were  there  some  less  attractive  areas  which  remained  relatively  untouched?  How  did  the   th urban   spaces   with   a   high   concentration   of   political   places   developed   during   the   long   19   century?   Was   this   development   steered   from   a   certain   place,   for   example   from   centre   to   periphery,   or   did   the   political   space   cover  the  whole  city  without  clearly  defined  areas?     The  research  topics  touch  upon  both  the  traditions  of  political  and  urban  history.  For  a  long  time,  these  two   disciplines   developed   separately.   The   first   traditionally   focused   on   national   political   evolutions,   while   the   second  considered  the  urban  space  as  a  determining  factor  in  socio-­‐economic,  cultural  and  political  processes.   Despite  the  spatial  turn  of  the  1970s  and  1980s  in  human  sciences  –  following  Henri  Lefebvre,  David  Harvey   and  Edward  Soja  –  and  the  growing  importance  of  local  and  urban  political  traditions  in  political  history,  this   1 latter   still   all   too   often   ignores   the   direct   link   between   political   culture   and   urban   space.  In   their   studies   on   visual   and   material   political   developments,   identities   and   symbolism,   such   as   speeches,   parades   and   public   2 sculptures,   historians   rarely   consider   the   spatial   influence   on   or   embedding   of   these   elements.  However,   political   institutions,   parties   and   individuals   involved   both   the   physical   and   mental   space   to   underline   and   3 expand   their   ideology,   power   and   identity,   or   in   other   words,   to   create   an   “official   political   culture”.  This   struggle  for  power  took  place  in  a  space  that  not  only  functioned  as  a  passive  background,  but  was  above  all   4 assigned  an  active  role  by  the  political  elite.     By  defining  seven  types  of  urban  political  space,  the  Dutch  historian  Pim  Kooij  intended  to  close  the   gap   between   the   two   disciplines.   Around   the   ‘epicentral   political   space’   or   the   zenith   of   the   urban   political   power,  mostly  situated  in  the  historical  centre  of  the  city  (town  hall,  Great  Market),  six  other  political  spaces   concentrated   in   which   this   power   is   supported,   expanded,   challenged   or   opposed.   However,   the   political   spaces  were  not  always  clearly  defined,  they  rather  interacted,  coincided  or  transformed  from  one  type  into   5 th another.  Following   Kooij,   my   research   will   establish   links   between   the   political   and   urban   history   of   19 -­‐


 M.   Beyen,   ‘Moeder   en   dochter   keren   terug   naar   de   hoofdstad:   een   parabel   als   inleiding’,   Stadsgeschiedenis,  7,  2012,  1,  p.   59;   P.   Stabel   and   M.   Wagenaar,   ‘Stadsgeschiedenis:   uitgangspunten   van   een   nieuw   tijdschrift’,  Stadsgeschiedenis,   1,   2006,   1,  pp.  1-­‐6.   2  See  for  instance:  M.  Agulhon,  ‘La  statuomanie  et  l’histoire’,  Ethnographie  Francaise,  8,  1978,  2-­‐3,  pp.  145-­‐172;  S.G.  Davies,   Parades   and   power:   street-­‐theatre   in   nineteenth-­‐century   Philadelphia,   Berkeley,   1986;   T.   Verschaffel,   ‘Het   verleden   tot   weinig   herleid:   de   historische   optocht   als   vorm   van   de   romantische   verbeelding’,   in:   Tollebeek,   J.,   Ankersmit,   F.   and   W.   Krul  (eds.),  Romantiek  en  historische  cultuur,  1996,  Groningen,  pp.  297-­‐320;  S.  Gerson,  The  pride  of  place:  local  memories  &   political  culture  in  nineteenth-­‐century  France,  Ithaca  N.Y.,  2003;  A.  Stynen,  Een  geheugen  in  fragmenten:  heilige  plaatsen  van   de   Vlaamse   beweging,   Tielt,   2005;   E.   Vandeweghe,   ‘Staging   urban   history:   festivities   and   the   creation   of   historical   townscapes  in  Belgium  (1860-­‐1958)’,  Environment,  Space,  Place,  3,  2011,  2,  pp.  122-­‐159.   3  J.  Vernon,  Politics  and  the  people:  a  study  in  English  political  culture,  c.  1815-­‐1867,  Cambridge,  1993,  pp.  48-­‐64,  208.   4  J.H.   Furnée,   ‘Beleving   van   ruimte:   de   spatial   turn   en   de   negentiende   eeuw’,   De   Negentiende   Eeuw,   36,   2012,   1,   pp.   5,   7-­‐8;   S.   Gunn,   ‘The   spatial   turn:   changing   histories   of   space   and   place’,   in:   Gunn,   S.   and   R.J.   Morris   (eds.),   Identities   in   Space:   Contested  Terrains  in  the  Western  City  since  1850,  Aldershot,  2001,  pp.2-­‐3.   5  P.   Kooij,   ‘Urban   elites   and   political   space   in   the   nineteenth   and   twentieth   century’,   in:   Couperus,   S.,   Smit,   C.   and   D.J.   Wolffram,  In  control  of  the  city:  local  elites  and  the  dynamics  of  urban  politics,  Leuven,  2007,  pp.  1-­‐13.  




century   Antwerp.   In   short,   I   will   analyse   the   local   Antwerp   political   culture   of   the   long   19 -­‐century   spatially   and  vice  versa,  the  local  political  spaces  culturally.     Throughout   the   centuries,   and   certainly   until   the   French   Revolution,   religious   institutions   settled   down   across   Antwerp   and   strongly   influenced   the   life   of   citizens.   Completely   undisturbed,   the   Catholics   could   6 th overload   the   cityscape   with   all   kinds   of   material   symbols.  Consequently,   in   the   19   century,   new   political   ideologies   like   liberalism,   flamingantism   and   socialism,   had   to   compete   against   this   urban   and   architectural   resources  already  available  to  the  Catholic  political  wing.  Though,  the  more,  for  example,  the  liberals  obtained   th control   over   the   urban   space,   the   bigger   the   urge   of   the   Catholics   to   strengthen   its   position   again.   In   19 -­‐ century  Antwerp,  all  these  aforementioned  political  ideologies  saw  the  light  of  day  and  were  sooner  or  later   represented  in  the  city  council.  This  project  will  thus  consider  how  the  physical  and  mental  city  transformed   into   a   battleground   and   how   differently   or   similarly   political   parties   and   individuals   integrated   this   space   in   their   campaigns   to   convince   and   inspire   the   citizens   of   and   by   their   beliefs.   Such   an   integral   approach   will   th refine  the  traditional  conception  of  19 -­‐century  Antwerp  controlled  by  a  liberal  political  elite  and  contested  by   7 Catholic  and  Meetingist  opponents.  As  Oliver  Zimmer  suggested,  the  interaction  between  political  actors  was   not  only  characterised  by  antagonism,  but  also  by  mutual  accommodation  or  “efforts  […]  to  engage  with  each   8 other   in   nonantagonistic   ways”.  The   political   struggle   between   politicians   and   parties   could   be   intense,   while   at  other  times  they  needed  each  other’s  help  and  became  indispensable  allies.  For  example,  as  capital  of  the   Flemish   Movement,   Antwerp   was   a   hotbed   of   flamingants   who   all   pursued   a   same   common   purpose,   but   belonged  to  the  liberal  as  well  as  to  the  Catholic,  Meetingist  or  socialist  associations.     With   the   restoration   and   reconstruction   of   the   city   hall,   the   erection   of   many   public   sculptures   and   the   well-­‐considered   street   naming   the   subsequent   city   councils   attempted   to   claim   the   (im)material   urban   th space,  each  in  their  own  way.  In  the  second  half  of  the  19  century,  the  municipality  restored  and  renovated   9 the   exterior   and   interior   of   the   obsolete   town   hall.  It   pointed   out   the   importance   of   this   building   and   the   Great   Market   as   epicentre   of   its   political   power   to   the   outside   world   and   most   importantly   to   its   own   citizens.   While,   among   other   things,   new   and   recovered   decorations,   portraits   and   emblems   represented   and   concentrated   the   urban   political   power,   the   city   government   was,   in   view   of   the   limited   space,   forced   to   decentralise  most  of  its  functions  and  services  across  the  city.  The  restoration,  renovation  and  expansion  of   the  town  hall  (in)directly  materialised  the  pre-­‐established  status,  ideals  and  power  of  the  Antwerp  city  council.   This  underlying  ideology  also  returned  in  other  urban  structures,  like  statues  and  street  names.  As  reflections   of   prevailing   political   and   ideological   beliefs,   political   actors   and   groups   erected   and   inaugurated   statues   at   well-­‐considered  Antwerp  spaces  in  order  to  influence  citizens  in  short  as  well  as  in  long  terms.  In  the  case  of   th Belgum,   many   (art)   historians   traditionally   linked   the   19 -­‐century   statuomanie   to   emerging   feelings   of  



 See   for   instance:   C.   de   Clercq,   ‘Kerkelijk   leven’,   in:   Antwerpen   in   de   XVII   eeuw,   Antwerp,   1989,   pp.   27-­‐68;   K.   De   Raeymaecker,   ‘Aspecten   van   de   contrareformatie   te   Antwerpen   in   de   zeventiende   eeuw’,   in:   ibid.;   pp.   69-­‐99;   C.   de   Clercq,   de ‘Het   kerkelijk   leven’,   in:   :   Antwerpen   in   de   XVIII   eeuw:   instellingen,   economie,   cultuur,   Antwerp,   1952,   pp.   123-­‐155;   J.   Andriessen,   ‘Katholiek   herstel   en   Contrareformatie’,   in:   Van   Isacker,   I.   and   R.   Van   Uytven,   Antwerpen:   twaalf   eeuwen   geschiedenis   en   cultuur,   Antwerp,   1986,   pp.   183-­‐191;   P.   Huvenne,   ‘De   artistieke   burcht   van   de   Contrareformatie   (1609-­‐ 1648)’,  in:  Asaert,   G.,   Grieten,   S.,   and   T.   Grobet   (eds.),   Het   grote   geschiedenisboek   van   Antwerpen,   Antwerp,   2010,   pp.   123-­‐133;   K.   Van   Honacker,   ‘De   grijze   zeventiende   eeuw   (1648-­‐1715)’,   in:   ibid.,   pp.   135-­‐145;   I.  Bertels,  T.  Bisschops  and  B.   Blondé,   ‘Stadslandschap:   ontwikkelingen   en   verwikkelingen   van   een   stedelijke   ruimte’,   in:   Bertels,   I.,   De   Munck,   B.   and   H.   Van  Goethem  (eds.),  Antwerpen:  biografie  van  een  stad,  Antwerp,  2011,  pp.  32-­‐35.   7  See   for   instance:   Houtman-­‐De   Smedt,   ‘Continuïteit  en   discontinuïteit   in   het  politieke  leven’,   in:  Van  Isacker,  I.  and   R.  Van   Uytven,  Antwerpen,  pp.  250-­‐268;  L.  Wils,  ‘De  hoofdstad  van  de  Vlaamse  beweging’,  in:  ibid.,  pp.  314-­‐321;  J.  Van  Gerven,   ‘Stad,  adel  en  kerk  als  ideologische  breekpunten  in  de  strijd  tussen  katholieken  en  liberalen  in    de  negentiende  eeuw:  de   Antwerpse   ervaring’,   Bijdragen   tot   de   geschiedenis,   75,   1992,   1-­‐2,   pp.   63-­‐83;   L.   Hancké,   ‘De   Antwerpse   politieke   wereld   tussen   1863   en   1930’,   in:   M.   Nauwelaerts,   C.   Terryn   C.   and   P.   Verbraeken   (eds.),   De   panoramische   droom:   Antwerpen   en   de   wereldtentoonstellingen   1885,   1894,   1930,   Antwerp,   1993,   pp.   113-­‐122;   G.   Deneckere,   Geuzengeweld:   antiklerikaal   straatrumoer  in  de  politieke  geschiedenis  van  België,  1831-­‐1914,  Brussels,  1998.   8  O.   Zimmer,   ‘Beneath   the   “culture   war”:   Corpus   Christi   processions   and   mutual   accommodation   in   the   Second   German   Empire’,  The  journal  of  modern  history,  82,  2010,  2,  p.  295.   9  F.  Prims,  Het  stadhuis  te  Antwerpen:  geschiedenis  en  beschrijving,  Antwerp,  1930,  pp.  42-­‐44;  J.  Lampo,  Het  stadhuis  van   Antwerpen,  Brussels,  1993,  pp.  27-­‐29.  




national  identity  in  the  aftermath  of  the  Belgian  revolution.  I  will,  in  turn,  focus  on  the  individual  motivations   and  local  concerns  and  interests  of  the  Antwerp  politicians  and  parties.  Assigning  street  names  was,  just  like   the  erection  of  public  sculptures,  closely  connected  to  the  campaigning  of  political  beliefs  and  ideas  and  the   politically   driven   practices   of   commemoration.   In   recent   years,   the   politics   of   street   naming   and   memory   is   11 significantly   advancing   in   human   geography.  Historic   research   in   this   field,   however,   is   rare.   Although   overviews  indicated  the  origin  and  meaning  of  street  names  for  almost  every  Belgian  city  or  even  municipality,   12 broader  historical,  social,  cultural  and  political  explanations  were  omitted.      

Urban  government,  political  elite  and  political  parties  (Specific  topic  presentation)     th As   already   indicated,   the   successive   Antwerp   mayors,   aldermen   and   councillors   of   the   long   19   century   are   the   main   actors   of   my   research.   The   definition   of   such   urban   or   local   government   is   far   from   unambiguous.   According  to  Richard  H.  Trainor  and  Robert  J.  Morris,  it  is  both  related  to  municipal  institutions  and  voluntary,   professional   and   economic   organisations   as   to   more   cultural   dimensions,   like   rituals,   identity,   power   and   13 class.  As  my  aforementioned  cases  of  the  town  hall,  statues  and  street  names  suggest,  I  will  mainly  study  the   cultural   side   of   the   Antwerp   political   world.   Like   Patrick   Joyce,   who   concentrated   on   urban   liberal   governance   and  its  technopolitical  processes  to  achieve  some   rule  of  freedom,  I  will  consider  the  ‘the  agency  of  material   things’   (buildings,   statues   and   streets)   and   the   way   of   governing   through   such   materialised   ideologies,   beliefs   14 and  narratives  in  order  to  transform  and  create  urban  political  spaces.   th In  the  19  century,  members  of  the  urban  government  belonged  to  the  top  of  the  political,  and  at  the   same  time  of  the  cultural,  economic,  military,  religious  and  diplomatic  life.  This  situation  changed  only  at  the   th 15 beginning   of   the   20   century,   when   the   need   for   professionalization   within   local   government   increased.   Mainly   British   and   Dutch   historians   have   devoted   research   to   the   composition,   evolution   and   power   of   this   16 political  elite,  while  for  the  Belgian  case  few  if  any  systematic  studies  exist.  Nevertheless,  some  researchers   th analysed  the  Antwerp  governments  of  the  18  century  and  the  following  French  (1794-­‐1814)  and  Dutch  (1814-­‐


 See   for   instance:   L.   Pil,   ‘Quasimodo   of   Apollo?   De   romantische   historische   verbeelding   en   de   beperkingen   van   het   ‘heroïsche’   monument   in   het   jonge   België   (1830-­‐1860)’   in:   Tollebeek,   J.,   Ankersmit,   F.   and   W.   Krul   (eds.),   Romantiek   en   historische   cultuur,   pp.   255-­‐272;   H.   Stynen,   De   onvoltooid   verleden   tijd:   een   geschiedenis   van   de   monumenten-­‐   en   landschapszorg  in  België  1835-­‐1940,  Brussels,  1998,  pp.  12-­‐29;  J.  van  Lennep,  ‘De  beeldhouwkunst  tijdens  het  bewind  van   de Leopold  I  (1831-­‐1865)’,  in:  van  Lennep,  J.  (ed.),  De  19 -­‐eeuwse  Belgische  beeldhouwkunst,  Brussels,  1990,  pp.  85-­‐112.   11  See  for  instance:  D.  Alderman,  ‘Street  names  and  the  scaling  of  memory:  the  politics  of  commemorating  Martin  Luther   King,  Jr  within  the  African  American  community’,  Area,  35,  2003,  2,  pp.  163-­‐173.  For  general  tendencies  see,  among  others,   K.E.   Foote   and   M.   Azaryahu,   ‘Toward   a   geography   of   memory:   geographical   dimensions   of   public   memory   and   commemoration’,  Journal  of  Political  and  Military  Sociology,  35,  2007,  1,  pp.  125-­‐144;  R.  Rose-­‐Redwood,  D.  Alderman  and   M.  Azaryahu,  ‘Collective  memory  and  the  politics  of  urban  space:  an  introduction’,  GeoJournal,  73,  2008,  3,  pp.  161-­‐164.   12  For  Antwerp  see:  F.  Prims  and  M.  Verbeeck,  Antwerpsch  straatnamenboek:  lijst  van  al  de  straatnamen  op  1  januari  1938,   met  hun  beteekenis,  naamreden,  oorsprong  der  straat  en  veranderingen,  Antwerp,  1938;  R.  vande  Weghe,  Geschiedenis  van   de  Antwerpse  straatnamen,  Antwerp,  1977.   13  R.H.  Trainor  en  R.J.  Morris,  ‘Preface’,  in:  Morris,  R.J.  and  R.H.  Trainor,  Urban  governance:  Britain  and  beyond  since  1750,   Aldershot,  2000,  pp.  ix-­‐x.   14  P.   Joyce,   The   rule   of   freedom:   liberalism   and   the   modern   city,   London,   2003,   pp.   1-­‐19;   R.   Röttger,   ‘Capitol   and   capital:   het   ‘moment  Anspach’  in  de  Brusselse  urbanisatie  en  liberale  politieke  cultuur  (1860-­‐1880)’,  Stadsgeschiedenis,  1,  2006,  1,  pp.   27-­‐50.   15  M.   Dagenais   and   P.Y.   Saunier,   ‘Tales   of   the   periphery:   an   outline   survey   of   municipal   employees   and   services   in   the   nineteenth  and  twentieth  centuries’,  in:  Dagenais,  M.,  Maver,  I.  and  P.Y.  Saunier  (eds.),  Municipal  services  and  employees  in   the   modern   city,   Aldershot,   2003,   pp.   1-­‐27;   S.   Couperus,   C.   Smit   and   D.J.   Wolffram,   ‘Introduction:   local   elites   and   urban   politics,  a  conceptual  framework’,  in:   Couperus,  S.,  Smit,  C.  and  Wolffram,  D.J.,  In  control  of  the  city:  local  elites  and  the   dynamics  of  urban  politics,  Leuven,  2007,  p.  xi.   16  An   important   Belgian   study   on   the   official   functions   and   structures   of   local   governments   is:   L’initiative   publique   des   communes   en   Belgique   1795-­‐1940/Het   openbaar   initiatief   van   de   gemeenten   in   België   1795-­‐1940,   (Pro   Civitate.   Historische   uitgaven,  71,  2  volumes),  Brussels,  1986.      





1830)   periods,   although   sometimes   briefly.  Similar   studies   for   the   long   19 -­‐century   Belgian   period   are   th unfortunately   missing.   Most   historical   works   on   19 -­‐century   Antwerp   politics   outlined   the   general   developments   and   conflicts,   from   time   to   time   with   references   to   great   figures,   like   mayors   and   important   18 aldermen.  Although  my  project  does  not  endeavour  an  in-­‐depth  research  of  the  Antwerp  political  elite  and   urban  government,  it  will  take  into  account  the  personal  background  of  the  official  political  figures  playing  a   prominent   role   in   the   production   of   the   political   spaces   and   thus   provide   insight   into   the   composition   and   nature  of  the  different  municipalities.  A  study  of  the  urban  political  spaces  is  inextricably  linked  to  questions   such   as   who   produced   this   spaces   and   why:   what   were   their   personal   and   common   motivations,   which   message  did  they  try  to  promote,  did  this  message  serve  a  personal  goal,  a  homogeneous  political  ideal  or  was   it   more   complicated   and   did   different   ideologies   benefit   from   it?   A   statue,   for   example,   could   glorify   a   person   who   was   of   great   importance   for   a   certain   party,   while   at   the   same   time   it   could   honour   a   certain   government   composed   of   several   political   affiliations.   Despite   the   unilateral   top-­‐down   approach,   my   research   will   be   colourful  and  diversified.  The  city  council  was  a  heterogeneous  group  of  various  personalities.  The  members   were  not  only  involved  in  their  official  political  functions,  but  also  in  other  sectors,  like  political  clubs,  cultural   associations  and  learned  societies  which  often  (in)directly  maintained  links  with  their  official  political  activities   and  thus  consolidated  their  political  positions.  Besides,  not  only  the  big  names  of  the  Antwerp  governments   will  appear,  also  the  less-­‐known  aldermen  and  councillors  will  be  discussed.     To   collect   all   the   personal   information   of   the   Antwerp   mayors,   aldermen   and   councillors,   I   designed   a   database.   The   personal   files   of   the   actors   form   the   central   part   and   are   systematically   and   as   complete   as   19 possible   supplemented   with   information   coming   from   literature,   archive   and   all   other   kind   of   sources.  These   files   are   connected   to   those   of   the   societies   and   associations   on   the   one   hand   and   political   parties   on   the   other.   As   societies,   associations,   clubs   and   parties   are   not   the   main   focus   of   my   research,   I   will   complete   their   20 data  more  sporadic.  Although  this  database  will  mainly  serve  as  an  attachment  of  my  dissertation,  it  will  also   function  as  an  important  work  tool  during  my  research.     First  of  all,  I  can  always  easily  rely  on  biographic  details  of  the  political  actors:  their  home  address(es),   their   profession(s),   the   governments   of   which   they   were   part,   their   functions   and   positions   in   the   associations   and  parties…  As  many  of  these  details  have  a  spatial  component,  I  gain  insight  into  the  urban  places  where  the   politicians   were   active   and   the   urban   spaces   between   which   they   were   mostly   moving.   While   mayors   and   aldermen,  for  instance,  had  their  permanent  offices  in  the  town  hall,  councillors  usually  only  assembled  in  this   building   during   city   councils.   As   members   of   the   board   of   societies,   associations   and   parties,   they   also  



 R.   Boumans,   ‘Het   stadsbestuur’,   in:   Antwerpen   in   de   XVIII   eeuw,   pp.   19-­‐45;   R.   Boumans,   ‘Het   stadsbestuur   tijdens   de   de Franse  overheersing’,  in:  Bouwstoffen  voor  de  geschiedenis  van  Antwerpen  in  de  19  eeuw:  instellingen,  economie,  kultuur,   Antwerpen,  1964,  pp.  27-­‐61;  G.  Jacobs,  Het  stadsbestuur  van  Antwerpen  in  het  Hollandse  tijdvak  (1814-­‐1830),  (unpublished   master  thesis,  KULeuven),  Leuven,  1968.   18 th  See  for  instance  the  aforementioned  studies  on  the  19 -­‐century  political  history  of  Antwerp,  but  also:  J.B.  van  Mol,  Les   élus  d’Anvers  depuis  mil  huit  cent  trente:  résumé  des  annales  communales,  parlementaires  et  législatives,  Antwerp,  1889;  F.   Prims,  Geschiedenis  van  Antwerpen,  (part  X.1),  Antwerp,  1948;  L.  Wils,  Het  ontstaan  van  de  Meetingpartij  te  Antwerpen  en   haar  invloed  op  de  Belgische  politiek,  Antwerp,  1963;  L.  Wils,  ‘Het  einde  van  het  unionisme  te  Antwerpen,  Bijdragen  tot  de   Geschiedenis,  42,  1959,  4,  pp.  179-­‐243;  L.  Hancké,  De  Antwerpse  burgemeesters  van  1831  tot  2000:  van  Le  Grelle  tot  Detiège,   Antwerp,  2000.   19  For   example,   the   online   database   of   Odis,   a   database   on   intermediary   structures   in   19th-­‐   and   20th-­‐century   Europe,   contains   valuable   information:   http://www.odis.be.   Examples   of   archives   are   the   Liberal   Archives   and   the   AMSAB-­‐   Institute  for  Social  History  in  Ghent  and  the  Archives  and  Documentation  centre  for  the  Flemish  nationalism  (ADVN)  in   Antwerp.     20  The   future   will   show   if   political   parties   and   associations   will   receive   more   attention   and   become   a   casestudy   of   my   th dissertation.  Over  the  course  of  the  19 -­‐century,  political  parties  established  in  almost  every  city  district  assembly  rooms   in   which   militants   regularly   gathered   for   meetings,   sometimes   together   with   the   local   population.   Besides,   political   associations  also  erected  volks-­‐  and  gildehuizen  (People’s  Houses  and  Guild  Houses)  to  address  the  whole  urban  population   and   thus   to   increase   their   influence   and   number   of   votes.   See   for   instance:   R.   Stallaerts   and   L.   Schokkaert,   Onder   dak:   een   eeuw   volks-­‐   en   gildehuizen,   Ghent,   1987;   J.   Vernon,   Politics   and   the   people,   pp.   208-­‐230;   E.   Witte,   J.   Craeybeckx   and   A.   Meynen,   Politieke   geschiedenis   van   België   van   1830   tot   heden,   Antwerp,   2005,   pp.   131-­‐132;   D.   Vanacker,   Een   averechtse   liberaal:  Leo  Augusteyns  en  de  liberale  arbeidersbeweging,  Ghent,  2008,  pp.  123-­‐161.  



regularly  met  in  the  headquarters,  which  were  sometimes  located  at  important  public  places  of  Antwerp.  At   other   times,   citizens   or   militants   gathered   before   private   houses   of   mayors   or   politicians   to   express   their   appreciations  or  dissatisfactions  about  sensitive  political  questions.       By   revealing   the   interrelationships   and   networks   between   the   political   actors,   the   database   will   probably   show   that   despite   their   political   persuasion,   politicians   participated   in   the   same   voluntary   associations   as   their   dissenters,   while   otherwise,   they   sometimes   competed   with   their   likeminded   colleagues.   As   Jan   Hein   Furnée   suggested,   “voluntary   associations   and   networks   of   associations   […]   created   new   social   spaces  in  which  people  from  relatively  heterogeneous  social  backgrounds  and  different  political  and  religious   21 affiliations”   discussed   political,   economical,   social   and   cultural   issues.  The   liberal   wing,   on   the   other   hand,   housed   doctrinal,   moderate   and   progressive   liberals   who   often   were   members   of   smaller   spin-­‐off   organisations.  In  the  same  spirit,  Vernon  argued  already  in  the  1990s  that  “in  the  past  it  has  been  assumed  too   quickly   that   parties   were   discrete   and   unified   ideological   and   social   categories,   ignoring   the   contingent   and   22 unstable  nature  of  their  identities  and  constituencies  of  support”.  With  his  words  in  mind,  the  database  will   th adjust   the   traditional   assumptions   of   homogenous   19 -­‐century   political   parties   and   point   out   conflicts   between   the   traditional   political   affiliations,   but   above   all   between   likeminded   politicians   and   within   the   parties  themselves.     Despite  the  elitist  political  point  of  view,  this  research  will  bounce  back  and  forth  between  formal  and   informal,  official  and  popular  or  high  and  low  politics.  It  is  positioned  between  the  ‘high  political  approach’  and   the  ‘new  political’  or  ‘popular  politics’  history,  as  respectively  not  only  the  big  giants  of  the  Antwerp  political   world,  or  more  precisely,  the  members  of  the  city  council,  but  also  their  political  beliefs,  ideas  and  principles   23 are  main  focuses.  The  decisions  of  the  restoration  of  the  town  hall,  the  construction  of  statues  and  the  street   naming  were  all  made  in  the  official  sphere  of  the  city  council  and  followed  certain  procedures.  At  the  same   time,   these   decisions   created   political   culture   in   the   urban   space.   In   a   popular   way,   the   political   powers   introduced  narratives,  histories,  memories  and  symbols  to  the  Antwerp  citizens  in  order  to  convince  them  of   their  governance,  importance  and  ideas.  As  a  result,  they  constructed  political  urban  spaces  where  both  high   and   low   or   elitist   and   popular   politics   met.   Even   if   the   municipality   had   the   ultimate   right   of   decision,   the   associations   and   societies   were   often,   for   example,   the   initiators   of   monuments   and   usually   participated   in   its   inauguration   festivities.   By   collating   information   of   both   the   mayors,   aldermen,   councillors   and   political   parties,   cultural   associations   and   learned   societies,   my   research   tries   to   a   certain   extent   to   “transcend   the   unhelpful   dichotomies   of   ‘high’   and   ‘low’,   ‘centre’   and   ‘periphery’   or   ‘elite’   and   ‘popular’   in   favour   of   a   24 systematic  explanation  of  the  interconnectedness  of  politics”.        

Councillor,  alderman  and  mayor  J.F.  Loos     As   became   clear   earlier,   I   will   not   carry   out   a   prosopographic   study   of   the   Antwerp   political   elite.   Although   th what   follows   tend   to   be   a   biography   of   Jan   Frans   Loos,   one   of   the   most   important   19 -­‐century   Antwerp   politicians,   it’s   not   my   intention   to   completely   examine   his   life   and   activities.   This   paper   rather   illustrates   how   the   database   provides   insight   into   the   locations,   both   private   and   public,   where   he   practised   his   official  and   popular   political   functions.   Besides,   it   also   demonstrates   the   relations   and   networks   Loos   developed   as   member  of  the  many  management  boards,  societies  and  associations.      


 J.H.  Furnée,  ‘In  good  company:  class,  gender  and  politics  in  The  Hague’s  gentlemen’s  clubs,  1700-­‐1900’,  in:  Morton,  G.,   de   Vries,   B.   And   R.J.   Morris,   Civil   society,   associations   and   urban   places:   class,   nation   and   culture   in   nineteenth-­‐century   Europe,  Aldershot,  2006,  pp.  117-­‐118.   22  J.  Vernon,  Politics  and  the  people,  p.  182.   23  J.  Lawrence,  ‘Political  history’,  in:  Berger,  S.,  Feldner,  H.  and  K.  Passmore,  Writing  history:  theory  and  practice,  London,   2003,  pp.  183-­‐202.   24  Ibid.,  p.  199.  




Jan   Frans   Loos   was   born   in   Antwerp   in   1799.  His   parents,   Petrus   Josephus   Loos   and   Celia   Hambroeck,   founded   in   1795   a   transport   and   postal   company   in   the   Hôtel   van   Engeland   in   the   Keizerstraat.   Father   Loos   started  some  years  later  a  co-­‐operation  with  his  brother-­‐in-­‐law  Joannes  Baptist  van  Gend,  who  also  headed   with   his   wife   Marie   Françoise   Loos   a   postal   service   in   the   hotel   De   Kroon   in   the   Israëlietenstraat.   The   headquarters   of   their   association   was   located   in   the   former   Beggarden   convent   between   the   Eiermarkt   and   the   Beggardenstraat.   After   the   dead   of   father   Loos   in   1809,   Jan   Frans   Loos’   mother   continued   the   family   business,  still  in  association  with  van  Gend,  under  the  name  Koninklijke  Postwagens  onderneming  van  J.B.  van   Gend  en  de  Weduwe  P.J.  Loos.  When  Jan  Frans  Loos  was  old  enough  to  start  his  professional  career,  he  became   26 director  of  the  headquarters  of  Van  Gend  &  Loos.  He  was  regularly  present  at  his  office  in  the  Eiermarkt  33,   from  where  he  was  able  to  establish  his  (inter)national  network,  as  we  will  see  later.     Meanwhile,  J.F.  Loos  became  involved  in  the  Antwerp  political  life.  In  July  1836,  the  Catholic  Gérard   Le   Grelle   was   re-­‐elected   as   mayor.   Three   months   later,   new   municipal   elections   took   place   in   order   to   replace   some  resigning  members.  Loos  was  now  elected  as  councillor,  while,  for  the  first  time,  the  liberals  achieved   27 the   majority   of   the   seats.  It   was   the   start   of   a   long   and   successful   political   career.   Until   December   1862,   one   could  not  imagine  the  town  hall  without  him.  The  first  years  he  only  attended  the  meetings  of  the  municipal   council,  but  in  1840  he  was  appointed  as  alderman  of  finance  and  was  regularly  present  in  the  building.     After  visiting  the  Artis  Zoo  of  Amsterdam  during  a  business  trip  for  Van  Gend  &  Loos  in  1840,  Loos  could  not   28 abandon   the   idea   of   Antwerp   with   its   own   prestigious   zoological   garden.  Only  three  years  later,  he  founded   together   with   his   close   friend   and   physicist   Jacques   Kets   and   some   other   prominent   citizens   the   Zoological   Society   of   Antwerp,   which   soon   acquired   a   royal   title   (Royal   Zoological   Society   of   Antwerp/Koninklijke   Maatschappij   voor   Dierkunde   Antwerpen   (K.M.D.A.)).   The   first   preparatory   (in)formal   meetings   of   the   provisional  commission  were  held  in  the  private  home  of  Loos,  at  the  Huidevettersstraat  41  (current  number   45).   By   issuing   shares,   the   members   raised   money   to   purchase   building   lots   and   to   erect   the   necessary   buildings.  In  march  1843,  they  were  able  to  buy  a  piece  of  land  in  the  fifth  district  extra-­‐muros,  just  outside  the   th 16 -­‐century   Spanish   walls,   but   inside   the   area   of   the   military   building   ban.   The   Society   constructed   a   neoclassical   natural   history   museum,   a   director’s   residence,   a   café   and   some   animal   cages.   With   this   well-­‐ considered  location,  Loos  not  only  made  a  pragmatic  choice  –  there  was  a  lack  of  space  inside  the  walls  and   the  grounds  were  situated  next  to  the  then  wooden  train  station   –  but  probably  also  a  political  statement.  At   the   end   of   the   1840s,   the   Antwerp   economy   and   population   was   expanding   quickly.   While   the   city   was   imprisoned   between   the   ramparts,   the   citizens   were   in   need   of   more   living   space   and   started   the   fight   for   the   demolition  of  the  old  obsolete  Spanish  walls.  This  fight  intensified  in  the  1850s,  when  the  national  government   considered  making  Antwerp  the  national  redoubt  or  stronghold  of  Belgium.  The  desired  extension  of  Antwerp   was  finally  achieved  in  1859.  In  return,  the  Antwerp  citizens  had  to  accept  a  new  and  larger  defence  system,   29 the   so-­‐called   Brialmontfortengordel.  During   negotiations,   the   national   and   military   government   could   not   ignore   the   great   success   of   the   Zoo,   which,   was   probably   one   of   the   reasons   to   opt   for   a   larger   enceinte   th instead   of   one   with   the   same   dimensions   of   the   16 -­‐century   walls.   The   Antwerp   Zoo   was   not   only   of   local  


 Most  biographic  information  of  J.F.  Loos      J.  de  Decker,  ‘La  famille  Loos’,  De  Schakel,  14,  1959,  1,  pp.  4-­‐6,  10-­‐13;  ‘De  Antwerpse  burgemeesters  sinds  1800’,  13,  1977,   1,   pp.   303-­‐304;   L.   Hancké,   De   Antwerpse   burgemeesters,   pp.   39-­‐40.   For   more   information   on   the   Van   Gend   &   Loos   company,   see   for   instance:   W.   Visser,   150   jaren   Van   Gend   &   Loos   1796-­‐1946,   Utrecht,   1946;   J.   De   Decker,   ‘L’activité   e commerciale   et   industrielle   de   quelques   familles   anversoises   au   XIX   siècle:   les   messageries   van   Gend   en   Loos’,   3,   1948,   4,   pp.  100-­‐132;  J.  Dankers  and  J.  Verheul,  Twee  eeuwen  op  weg:  Van  Gend  &  Loos  1796-­‐1996,  The  Hague,  1996;  E.  van  Bergen,   Antwerpen  omstreeks  1850:  herinneringen  van  een  ouden  sinjoor,  Antwerp,  1827,  pp.  18-­‐20.   27  J.B.   van   Mol,   Les  élus  d’Anvers  depuis  mil  huit  cent  trente:  résumé  des  annales  communales,  parlementaires  et  législatives,   Antwerpen,  1889,  pp.  57-­‐59.   28  The  (architectural)  historical  data  mostly  comes  from  R.  Baetens,  De  roep  van  het  paradijs:  150  jaar  Antwerpse  Zoo,  Tielt,   1993  and  M.  Jaenen,  ‘De  dierentuin  van  Antwerpen:  een  tuin-­‐  en  bouwhistorisch  verhaal’,  M&L,  31,  2012,  3,  pp.  32-­‐49.   29  I.   Bertels   and   H.   Van   Goethem,   ‘Vergankelijke   stedelijke   ruimte:   de   afbraak   van   de   Spaanse   omwalling   in   de   negentiende   eeuw’,   in:   Lombaerde,   P.,   Antwerpen   versterkt:   de   Spaanse   omwalling   vanaf   haar   bouw   in   1542   tot   haar   afbraak  in  1870,  Antwerp,  2009,  pp.  122-­‐123.  For  the  political  struggle  between  the  Antwerp  and  national  government,  see   L.  Wils,  Het  ontstaan  van  de  Meetingpartij  te  Antwerpen  en  haar  invoed  op  de  Belgische  politiek,  Antwerpen,  1963.   26




importance,   it   had   also   an   important   national   and   international   profile.  Besides   these   reasons,   Loos   had   personal  interests.  His  family  owned  some  land  in  the  surrounding  neighbourhood  which  value  would  decrease   31 if  the  original  dimensions  and  the  zone  non  aedificandi  would  remain.       In  the  meantime,  the  shareholders,  who  were  also  effective  members  of  the  Royal  Zoological  Society   and  mainly  belonged  to  the  Antwerp  financial  elite  and  nobility,  elected  Loos  as  vice-­‐president  of  the  Board  of   32 Directors.  He   thus   could   continue   to   exercise   an   influential   function   within   the   daily   organisation   of   the   33 Society,  certainly  when  he  became  president  in  1861,  which  he  remained  until  his  death  ten  years  later.  His   influence   and   importance   also   became   clear   when   Charles   Servais,   architect   and   liberal   councillor   under   Loos’   34 governance,  constructed  an  Egyptian  temple  for  Arabic,  Indian  and  African  animals  in  1856.  When  the  royal   family  of  King  Leopold  I  inaugurated  the  building,  it  was  still  unpainted.  A  year  later,  Jean-­‐Joseph  Stalins  and   his  son  provided  the  temple  of  remarkable  hieroglyphs  and  Egyptian  human  figures  designed  by  the  literary   scholar   Lodewijk   Delgeur.   On   the   four   columns   of   the   narthex   the   name   and   title   of   mayor   Loos   was   depicted   together   with   those   of   King   Leopold   I   and   the   Antwerp   Governor   Théodore   Teichmann.   Loos   was   also   immortalized   on   the   left   sidewall   of   the   entrance,   surrounded   by   his   colleagues   of   the   Management   Board:   35 president   Baron   P.J.   de   Caters,   treasurer   G.   Piéron,   secretary   J.   Elsen   and   administrator   J.J.   Rigouts-­‐Verbert.   With   these   many   references   to   the   royal   family,   the   city   of   Antwerp   and   important   Antwerp   citizens,   the   Temple  carried  a  concealed  political  meaning.     Although   visitors   had   to   pay   entrance,   the   Zoo   was,   next   to   the   public   promenade   du   glacis,   an   th important   green   lung   in   mid-­‐19 -­‐century   Antwerp.   However,   just   like   contemporary   promenades   and   city   parks,   the   zoo   was   more   than   just   a   place   of   rest   and   fresh   air.   It   was   an   important   meeting   place   for   the   36 wealthy  class  where  political  and  ideological  convictions  were  exchanged  and  networks  were  reinforced.  The   bourgeoisie  thus  did  not  only  use  this  scientific  and  cultural  society  to  distinguish  itself  from  other  groups  of   population,   like   Furnée   repeatedly   suggested   in   his   studies,   but   also   as   a   political   tool   to   reinforce   the   mutual   37 liberal  connections  and  to  disseminate  liberal  ideologies.  Loos  undoubtedly  succeeded  in  winning  the  trust  of   the  shareholders  and  members  who  supported  him  climbing  further  up  the  local  political  ladder.     Loos’   political   fame,   influence   and   power   did   indeed   increase:   he   was   elected   as   member   of   the   Belgian   Chamber   of   Representatives   in   June   1845.   From   1846   onwards,   the   liberals   gained   a   firm   foothold   in   the   Antwerp   political   landscape.   They   founded   the   first   liberal   party   under   the   name   Association   libérale   de   38 l’agriculture   et   de   l’industrie,   which   allowed   them   to   organise   more   systematically.  This   approach   soon   led   to   results,  as  Loos,  although  as  an  independent  candidate,  became  mayor  of  Antwerp  on  30  September  1848.  He  


 For   an   in-­‐depth   study   on   the   national   importance   of   the   Antwerp   Zoo,   see   the   recent   publication   of   T.   Peverelli,   Mensentuin:  nationale  cultuur  en  de  Antwerpse  Zoo  in  de  negentiende  eeuw,  Ghent,  2014.   31  L.  Wils,  Het  ontstaan  van  de  Meetingpartij,  p.  26.   32  J.  Baetens,  De  roep  van  het  paradijs,  p.  66.   33  Ibidem.,  p.  119.   34  A.  Malliet,  ‘De  restauratie  van  de  Egyptische  tempel’,  M&L,  7,  1988,  2,  p.  18.   35  For  (art)historical  information  on  the  Egyptian  Temple  of  the  Antwerp  Zoo,  see  P.  Maclot  and  E.  Warmenbol,  ‘Bevangen   door  Egypte:  de  Egyptische  Tempel  in  de  Antwerpse  Zoo  in  kunsthistorisch  en  historisch  perspectief’,  in:  Kruyfhooft,  C.,   Zoom   op   zoo:   Antwerp   zoo   focusing   on   arts   and   sciences,   Antwerp,   1985,   pp.   359-­‐379;   E.Warmenbol   and   P.   Maclot,   ‘Tempel   en   stal   in   één:   de   Egyptische   tempel   in   de   Antwerpse   zoo   in   kunsthistorisch   en   historisch   perspectief’,  M&L,   7,   1988,   2,   pp.   24-­‐35.  For  the  explanation  of  the  hieroglyphs  see  E.  Warmenbol  and  L.  Delvaux,  ‘Oud-­‐Egyptische  teksten  uit  de  tijd  van   Farao  Leopold  I  van  Opper-­‐  en  Neder-­‐België’,  M&L,  7,  1988,  2,  pp.  68.   36  See  for  instance:  P.  Clark  (ed.),  The  European  city  and  green  space:  London,  Stockholm,  Helsinki  and  St  Petersburg,  150-­‐ 2000,   Aldershot,   2006;   A.   Stynen,   Proeftuinen  van  burgerlijkheid:  stadsnatuur   in   negentiende-­‐eeuwse  België,   (onuitgegeven   proefschrift,  KULeuven  2010),  Leuven,  2010.   37  See  for  instance:  J.H.  Furnée,  ‘Bourgeois  strategies  of  distinction.  Leisure  culture  and  the  transformation  of  urban  space:   The   Hague,   1850-­‐1890’,   in:   Gunn,   S.   and   Morris,   R.J.   (eds.),   Identities   in   Space,   pp.   204-­‐227;   J.H.   Furnée,   Plaatsen   van   beschaafd  vertier:  standsbesef  en  stedelijke  cultuur  in  Den  Haag,  1850-­‐1890,  Amsterdam,  2012;  J.H.  Furnée,  ‘’Le  bon  public   de   la   Haye’.   Local   governance   and   the   audience   in   the   French   opera   in   The   Hague;   1820-­‐1890’,   Urban   History,   40,   2013,   4,   pp.  625-­‐645.   38  A.  verhulst  and  H.  Hasquin,  Het  liberalisme  in    België:  tweehonderd  jaar  geschiedenis,  Ghent,  1989,  p.  307;  J.  Hoefkens   (ed.),  150  jaar  liberalisme  te  Antwerpen,  Antwerp,  1996,  pp.  348-­‐349.  



captured   one   of   the   most   important   and   beautiful   offices   in   the   town   hall,   the   office   of   the   mayor   or   burgemeesterskabinet,  and  the  central  seats  in  the  meeting  rooms  of  the  College  and  the  city  council.     In  contrast  to  this  official  political  place  of  the  town  hall,  Loos’  private  house  in  the  Huidevettersstraat   sometimes   functioned   as   an   unofficial   or   informal   one.   He   organised   meetings,   like   those   of   the   Royal   Zoological  Society,  and  undoubtedly  invited  (political)  friends  and  relatives  to  discuss  societal  issues.  On  the   other  hand,  the  Antwerp  citizens  gathered  around  his  house  to  express  their  recognition  of  or  dissatisfaction   with  his  policy.  For  example,  on  29  May  1857,  the  liberal  population  vividly  demonstrated  in  the  entire  country   39 against  the  Catholic  bill  on  charities  organisations,  also  known  as  Kloosterwet.  In  Antwerp,  they  assembled   on  the  Meir,  from  where  they  moved  on  to  the  Great  Market.  Afterwards  they  continued  to  the  residence  of   40 Loos,   while   shouting,   among   other   things:   “Long   live   the   King!   Long   live   Loos!”.  Only   one   year   later,   the   Antwerp   citizens   came   again   onto   the   streets,   this   time   to   honour   his   achievements   as   Representative   concerning   the   demolition   of   the   walls   and   the   urban   expansion.   They   shouted   similar   slogans,   like   “Long   live   41 Loos!  Long  live  our  mayor!  Long  live  the  extension!”,  and  gave  a  long  ovation  before  his  home.   42 As   already   mentioned,   Loos’   greatest   objective   was   the   extension   of   his   city.  The   fifth   district   extra-­‐ muros   received   his   special   attention:   it   offered   space   for   new   residential   and   commercial   areas   in   the   immediate   vicinity   of   the   train   station   and,   off   course,   his   own   showpiece   the   Antwerp   Zoo.   Despite   the   building  ban  and  even  before  the  decision  was  made  to  demolish  the  ramparts,  he  opened  several  new  streets,   boulevards   and   roundabouts   in   this   neighbourhood,   of   which   the   Leopoldslei   (Boulevard   Leopold,   current   43 Belgiëlei),   constructed   between   1858   and   1861,   was   the   most   prestigious.  In   1854,   Loos’   city   council   considered   it   necessary   to   provide   an   easy   passage   between   the   city   districts   intra-­‐   (within   the   walls)   and   extra-­‐muros.  The  pedestrian  shortcut  through  the  walls  at  the  end  of  the  Meirsteeg  (current  Leysstraat),  also   called   postern,   which   guaranteed   from   1841   onwards   a   free   flow   to   the   station,   was   reconstructed   so   that   vehicles  also  could  easily  cross  the  ramparts  instead  of  taking  the  slow  way  through  the  complex  city  gates.  At   44 the   same   time   and   for   the   same   reasons,   the   street   itself   was   widened.  Naturally,   this   passage   also   ameliorated  the  accessibility  of  the  Zoo,  which  was  only  a  plus  for  Loos.     After  his  appointment  as  mayor,  Loos  also  became  involved  in  other  organisations,  associations  and  societies.   His   personal   and   professional   network   was   growing   strongly   and   became   more   diversified.   He   entered   new   circles   of   people,   showed   up   in   new   places   and   neighbourhoods   and   got   in   touch   with   new   citizens.   As   the   distance   between   Loos   and   his   citizens   became   smaller,   he   succeeded   in   winning   more   trust   in   his   own   governance  and  in  liberal  policy  in  general.       In  1852,  Loos  was  a  co-­‐founder  of  the  Institut  Supérieur  de  Commerce  (Higher  Institute  of  Commerce,   Hoger   Handelsinstituut),   which   was   the   second   of   its   kind   in   Europe,   after   Paris.   Doctor   François-­‐Jean   Matthyssens,   who   became   councillor   in   1848,   was   the   great   initiator.   Based   on   his   publication   ‘Projet   d’organisation   d’une   Université   belge   de   commerce   et   d’industrie’,   mayor   Loos   argued   fervently   this   initiative   in  the  city  council.  The  Institute  was  finally  established  in  existing  buildings  at  the  Eikenstraat  10.   As  president   ex   officio,   Loos   chaired   the   administrative   commission,   composed   of   six   other   members   who   were   all   well   known   in   the   Antwerp   economic   sector.   They   were   important   businessmen,   lawyers   and   members   of   the   Chamber   of   Commerce   and   of   the   Commercial   Court,   while   some   of   them   also   participated   in   the   Antwerp   45 city  council.  


 G.  Deneckere,  Geuzengeweld,  pp.  37-­‐45.    Ibidem.,  p.  44;  E.  Poffé,  Plezante  mannen  in  een  plezante  stad  (Antwerpen  tusschen  1830  &  ’80),  Antwerp,  1913,  p.  169.   41  E.  Poffé,  Plezante  mannen,  p.  174;  L.  Hancké,  De  Antwerpse  burgemeesters,  pp.  52-­‐53.   42  L.  Hancké,  De  Antwerpse  burgemeesters,  pp.  49-­‐50.   43  In   his   personal   biography,   J.F.   Loos   was   compared   with   the   16th-­‐century   urban   engineer   Gilbert   Van   Schoonbeke.   According  to  the  author  J.B.  van  Mol,  both  were  of  great  importance  for  the  urban  development  and  transformation  of   Antwerp.  See  J.B.  van  Mol,  Jean-­‐François  Loos  (1836-­‐1863),  Antwerp,  1876,  pp.  7-­‐9.   44  J.B.   van   Mol,   Les   élus   d’Anvers,   p.   136;   A.   Thys,   Historique   des   rues   et   places   publiques   de   la   ville   d’Anvers,   Antwerp,   1873,   p.  337;  R.  vande  Weghe,  Geschiedenis  van  de  Antwerpse  straatnamen,  Antwerp,  1977,  p.  293.   45  F.   Prims,   Geschiedenis   van   Antwerpen,   (part   X.3),   Antwerp,   1949,   pp.   120-­‐121;   A.   Grunzweig,   Histoire   de   l’Institut   Supérieur  de  Commerce  de  l’Etat  à  Anvers,  (unpublished  study,  Cercle  des  Anciens  Etudiants  de  l’ISCEA),  Brussels,  1975.   40



  The   Cercle   artistique,   littéraire   et   scientifique   d’Anvers   was   born   in   the   same   year   as   the   previous   Higher   Institute   of   Commerce.   Again,   mayor   Loos   made   a   significant   contribution   to   the   creation   of   the   association   and   was   honorary   president   of   its   central   committee   from   1852   until   1871.   The   purpose   of   the   Cercle  was  to  stimulate  all  forms  of  art  and  science  and  to  function  as  a  meeting  place  for  professionals  and   devotees,   both   from   Antwerp,   Belgium   as   other   countries   across   the   world.   The   different   departments   (art,   music,   Flemish   literature,   French   literature   and   sciences)   organised   lectures,   exhibitions,   concerts,   theatre   performances,   competitions,   festivities   and   the   like.   In   the   beginning,   the   association   held   its   meetings   above   Café  Suisse  at  the  Groenplaats  2  and  at  the  main  hall  of  the  Cité  de  Commerce  et  de  l’Industrie,  a  commercial   complex   situated   between   the   Oudaan   and   the   Everdijstraat.   Not   much   later,   the   Cercle   was   able   to   settle   down   in   some   old   buildings   along   the   Willem   Tellstraat   and   the   Arenbergstraat   (current   Arenbergschouwburg).   In   1864,   these   buildings   were   joined   and   reconstructed   by   Eugene   Gife   and   afterwards   richly   decorated   by   different   artists.   The   new   construction   housed,   among   other   things,   a   main   hall,   a   reading   room  and  a  tavern  where  members,  generally  belonging  to  the  French-­‐speaking  bourgeoisie,  could  regularly   46 meet  and  the  administration  could  assemble.        Next   to   these   key   positions,   Loos   also   held   some   lower   positions   in   other   institutes   and   societies.   He   was,  for  example,  censor  of  the  National  Bank  of  Belgium,  vice-­‐president  of  the  Antwerp  Royal  Academy  of   Fine  Arts  and  of  the  Antwerp  Maritime  Academy  and  member  of  the  Antwerp  Chamber  of  Commerce.  As  “the   succesful   management   of   business   was   considered   by   many   an   essential   qualification   for   being   elected   as   a    47 local   councillor” ,   Loos’   professional,   cultural   and   scientific   enterprises   undoubtedly   benefitted   his   political   career.  Although  he  was  already  councillor  and  alderman  when  he  founded  the  Zoo  of  Antwerp,  his  presence   in   this   society   increased   his   political   popularity,   which   was   reflected   in   the   election   results   of   the   late   1840s   and   1850s.   At   the   same   time,   the   deployment   of   the   urban   civic   culture   by   the   bourgeoisie   “to   define   their   th control   of   urban   space   and   urban   society,   and   to   proclaim   local   (municipal)   identity”   transformed   the   19 -­‐ 48 century   city   into   a   “highly   politicized   space”.  The   foundation   of   the   associations   and   societies   and   the   commissioning   of   old   or   the   construction   of   new,   sometimes   beautiful,   functional   and   symbolic,   buildings   clearly  fitted  in  Loos’  political  programme:  he  created  formal  and  informal  political  spaces  which  helped  him  to   extend  his  professional  networks  and,  at  the  same  time,  to  sustain,  propagate  and  expand  his  liberal  political   ideology  and  power.     Loos’   greatest   objective   and   success,   the   extension   of   Antwerp,   ultimately   drove   him   to   his   political   downfall.   The  new  Brialmont  fortifications  brought  a  new  citadel  in  the  North  of  Antwerp  (the  so-­‐called  Noordkasteel),   new   easements   and   consequently   an   impairment   of   the   building   grounds   and   lands   within   the   area   of   the   building   ban.   Just   like   before,   these   military   decisions   caused   agitation   and   protest   among   the   Antwerp   citizens  and  some  political  associations.  The  Conservatieve  Associatie  (Conservative  Association),  the  Liberale   Associatie   (Liberal   Association),   the   Nederduitse   Bond   (a   Flemish-­‐minded   pressure   group)   and   the   mayors   of   the   thirteen   municipalities   involved   united   in   a   Commissie   van   Krijgdienstbaarheden   (Commission   of   Easements)   in   1861.   While   Loos’   negotiations   with   the   national   government   were   unsuccessful,   the   Commission   regularly   organised   popular   meetings   with   inflammatory   speeches.   The   liberals   were   more   divided  than  ever  and  the  Antwerp  political  situation  was  untenable.  The  audience  with  King  Leopold  I  on  6   November   1862   was   Loos’   last   chance   to   cool   down   the   conflict.   Unfortunately,   21   councillors   resigned   as   protest  against  the  poor  reception.  This  time,  many  citizens  at  the  Great  Market  jeered  Loos  and  the  police   49 had  to  protect  him  until  he  reached  his  house  at  the  Huidevettersstraat.  When  the  resigning  councillors  were  


46  T.  van  Kalmthout,  Muzentempels:  multidisciplinaire  kunstkringen  in  Nederland  tussen  1880  en  1914,  Hilversum,  1998,  pp.   52-­‐50   and   346-­‐348;   S.   Beele,  Kunst   voor   een   feestzaal:   Kersen   van   Lawrence   Alma-­‐Tadema,   (unpublished   study,   Koninklijk   Museum  voor  Schone  Kunsten  Antwerpen),  Antwerp,  2012;  E.  Daelman  (ed.),  Open  Monumentendag  2012:  woord  muziek   beeld,  Antwerp,  2012,  pp.  60-­‐62.   47  R.J.  Morris,  ‘Governance:  two  centuries  of  urban  growth’,  in:  Morris,  R.J.  and  R.H.  Trainor,  Urban  governance,  p.  3.   48  J.   Stobart,   ‘Building   an   urban   identity.   Cultural   space   and   civic   boosterism   in   a   ‘new’   industrial   town:   Burslem,   1761-­‐ 1911’,  Social  History,  29,  2004,  4,  p.  495.   49  E.  Poffé,  Plezante  mannen,  p.  230.  



all  replaced  by  Meetingist  politicans,  the  moderate  mayor  Loos  himself  resigned,  together  with  four  aldermen   and  five  councillors.  The  Meeting  party  remained  in  power  until  1872,  when  again  a  liberal  politician,  Leopold   50 the  Wael,  became  mayor  of  Antwerp.       However,   after   his   death   on   2   February   1871,   Loos   was   still   able   to   produce   political   spaces   in   the   city   of   Antwerp.   When   in   March   1873,   an   executive   committee   of   J.F.   Loos’   statue   addressed   itself   to   the   Antwerp   municipality,  it  reinforced  its  initiative  by  arguing  that  the  dedication  and  successful  realisations  of  this  former   mayor   were   still   fresh   in   many   people’s   minds.   It   asked   the   city   to   sponsor   the   foundations   and   to   give   51 permission  for  the  roundabout  in  front  of  the  St.  Joseph’s  Church,  now  decorated  with  a  sculptural  vase.  The   Commissions  of  Fine  Arts  and  Public  Roads  of  the  Antwerp  city  council  agreed  with  the  executive  committee   and   recommended   the   St.   Joseph’s   Place   for   historic   and   aesthetic   reasons.   The   roundabout   was   located   at   th one  of  the  corners  of  the  former  Lunette  d’Herentals  (part  of  the  16 -­‐century  Spanish  walls).  As  the  demolition   of   these   walls,   the   urban   extension   and   the   construction   of   the   fifth   district   were   considered   as   Loos’   most   important   achievements,   the   history   of   the   square,   neighbourhood   and   statue   coincided.   The   statue,   metaphorically  sculpted  out  of  the  Spanish  walls,  was  visible  from  several  surrounding  streets,  like  from  the   52 admirable  Leopoldslei,  and  embellished  at  the  same  time  square  and  district.  Without  any  discussions,  the   city  council  of  Leopold  de  Wael  unanimously  voted  the  erection  of  Loos’  monument  on  12  April  1873.  It  was  an   easy   way   of   producing   a   political   space   in   which   the   liberal   governance   was   worshipped.   At   the   same   time,   mayor   de   Wael,   the   aldermen   and   councillors   justified   their   own   policy,   as   they   saw   themselves   as   worthy   53 successors  of  J.F.  Loos.  To  increase  the  memory  of  Loos  even  more,  the  St.  Joseph’s  Place  was  renamed  as   Loosplaats   (Loos   Place).   A   few   years   later,   in   1876,   the   College   of   mayor   and   aldermen   also   named   a   new   street  between  the  Lange  Beeldekensstraat  and  the  current  Carnotstraat  the  Loosstraat  (Loos  Street),  in  the   immediate  vicinity  of  the  Antwerp  Zoo,  but  on  the  other  side  as  the  Loos  Plaats,  in  order  to  commemorate  the   former   mayor   of   Antwerp.   However,   at   the   request   of   some   residents,   the   Loosstraat   was   renamed   in   Van   54 Schoonhovestraat  in  1934.                        

Karen  Vannieuwenhuyze  ([email protected])   University  of  Antwerp   History  Department     Power  in  History.  Centre  for  Political  History.    


 L.  Hancké,  De  Antwerpse  burgemeesters,  pp.  54-­‐62.    SAA,  MA  1378/3,  29  March  1873.   52  STAD  ANTWERPEN,  Gemeenteblad  1873,  7,  12  April  1873,  p.  335.   53  Ibid.,  pp.  336-­‐338.   54  F.   Prims   and   M.   Verbeeck,   Antwerpsch   straatnamenboek:   lijst   van   al   de   straatnamen   p   1   januari   1938,   met   hun   beteekenis,  naamreden,  oorsprong  der  straat  en  veranderingen,  Antwerp,  1938,  p.  197;  R.  vande  Weghe,  Geschiedenis  van   de  Antwerpse  straatnamen,  Antwerp,  1977,  p.  487.   51



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