Belgian bureaucracy blocks Brussels Bruegelhuis

The Bruegelhuis should have been a new museum in Brussels to honour the famous painter with the same name, opening its doors in 2019, the Bruegel year - he died in 1569  - but this will not happen. The reason for this sounds a little bit surreal. 

A 16th-century Brussels dwelling where Pieter Bruegel the Elder is said to have lived - although there are controversial theories about this - is ready to be turned into a new museum. The cash is there, but the museums contributing to the project can't spend it. They received a "no" from the federal government. 

The Museums for Fine Arts earmarked 1.1 million for the project (they are said to have a reserve of 5 million) and were prepared to spend it. The Flemish Tourism Board would contribute 1.6 million. However, it turns out that the federal government is giving a very strict interpretation to a European guideline, which says that museums cannot spend more than what is coming in. In this case, this means that the Museums for Fine Arts can't take part in the project, and that it collapsed. 

The Flemish Tourism Minister Ben Weyts (nationalist) is disappointed. He accuses federal Budget Minister Sophie WIlmès (Francophone liberal) of blocking the project. "You may have a deal between the Flemish level and some federal ministers, if the Budget Minister says no, the project won't be realised", he told the VRT. 

Mr Weyts adds that the Bruegelhuis is not the only project to honour the former painter. The 1.6 million which had been earmarked, will go to other projects.