foto: Regie der Gebouwen

Tervuren’s giant elephant statue to be restored to its former glory

The large statue outside the Africa Museum in the Flemish Brabant municipality of Tervuren is to be restored. The statute in reinforced concrete was originally made for the World Exhibition in Brussels, 87 years ago in 1935. It was moved to Tervuren in 1938. Later this month scaffolding will be erected around the statue ahead of the restoration work that will get under way next year. 

The statue was made by Albéric Collin for the 1935 World Exhibition in Brussels. The large elephant with three African warriors on its back is a reference to Belgium’s colonial past. 

The statue is a protected monument. Three years after the World Exhibition the statue was taken to what was to become its permanent home in Tervuren. The last repairs to the statue were carried out in 2005. Now as it approaches its 90th birthday the statue is set to be restored to its former glory. 

Buildings’ Directorate Study

The federal body that is responsible for guarding and maintaining Belgium’s heritage, the Buildings’ Directorate will first carry out a study to ascertain what work needs to be carried out on the statue. 

The Buildings’ Directorate’s Johan Vanderborght told VRT News that “The study is above all to find out what state the statue is in. The statue is mainly made of concrete, but there is also metal in it. We want to know what state the statue is in so that we can carry out the restoration as well as possible”.

The study will take 4 months. Once the study has been completed a contractor will be appointed to carry out the restoration work on the 7-metre-high elephant. It is expected that the work will commence in mid-2023.


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