- Jean-Paul Remy

Is “Good Move” sounding the death knell for antiques in the Marollen?

For many years now the Marollen district of the City of Brussels has been a Mecca for anybody interested in antiques.  Countless are the stores selling antiques and vintage gear.  But since the introduction of a new traffic circulation plan – “Good Move” – more are more dealers have been experiencing problems.

Customers can’t get to the premises to load up purchases.  Suppliers experience difficulty in reaching antiques shops with their vans.

Auctioneers Béguinage are fed up with the situation and have drawn their conclusions.  They have decided there was no alternative but to up sticks and have left their premises in the Hoogstraat and moved into a storehouse in Wavre (Walloon Brabant).  “People have to spend too much time getting here and finding a parking spot” proprietor Olivier Bolens told the daily La Dernière Heure.

Antiques trader Stef Antiek is moving from the Blaesstraat to Mechelen next January: “Most customers now come by train, but for large furniture this isn’t an option. Foreign dealers are no longer interested in coming here.  We have to explain beforehand how to get here.  The only route is via Halle Gate” says Stef Van Autenboer.

The dealer is sad he is having to close his store in the Marollen.  “It’s such a fun area, but I believe all the antiques stores will disappear in time only to be replaced by hospitality.”

Stef Van Autenboer says these are sentiments shared by his colleague antiques dealers, who are now all considering leaving.

Alessandro Dati of D+ Design too has noticed the change: “Wealthier clients from Ukkel and Sint-Genesius-Rode no longer turn up here due to the circulation plan.  It’s a shame the plan was only conceived in the interest of residents and takes no account of the historic value of the neighbourhood”.

He's not thinking of moving in the hope the circulation plan will be modified, but if that doesn’t happen, he’ll leave too.

Bart Dhondt (Flemish green), the mobility alderman in the City of Brussels, preferred not to comment on the antiques dealers’ grievances.

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