The theme of railway history has been chosen by Europalia to commemorate the centenary of the setting up of the International Union of Railways (UIC). The UIC has over 200 member companies from all regions of the world. Belgium has played an important role in railway history. This year it is 185 years since the first railway on mainland Europe opened between Brussels and Mechelen (Antwerp Province). Next year it will be 175 years since the first railway linking two European capitals (Brussels and Paris) opened.
The First Minister of the Brussels-Capital Region Rudi Vervoort (Francophone socialist) told journalists that the Europalia festival will stage numerous events in Brussels, but also in the rest of Belgium and in neighbouring countries. He added that it will be important for the image of Brussels in the rest of Belgium and internationally.
The Train World Museum in the Brussels municipality of Schaarbeek will no doubt play a central role.
The Brussels Minister responsible for promoting the capital’s image at home and abroad Sven Gatz (Flemish liberal) told journalists "Trains have provided inspiration to artists, adventurers, innovators and dreamers. The capital of Europe has played a central role in this as a railway hub”.