Bust of Peter the Great (Buste van Peter de Grote)

The bust of Peter the Great is found in the Brussels Park (parc de Bruxelles or sometimes Parc royal (in French) or Warandepark (in Dutch)) (previously known as the Palace Park or the Ducal Park).

The park is located in the center of the city and has an area of 11 hectares. It is surrounded by  Rue Royale (Royal street), Rue de la Loi (Law street), Rue Ducale (Ducal street), and Place des Palais (Palace square).

On June 21, 1971, the park was recognized as the national heritage of the Brussels region (Région de Bruxelles-Capitale) and restoration work commenced, which was completed in 2001.

While in Brussels, Peter lived in this park in the Emperor’s House (Maison de l’Empereur), also known as the House of Charles V (Maison de Charles-Quint), from April 3/14 to April 7/18, 1717. The building was then demolished in 1778.

The bronze bust of Peter I was created by Christian Daniel Rauch (1777–1857), a German sculptor who founded the Berlin school of sculpture. The Bust was donated to Brussels by Prince Anatoly Demidov in 1854 (or, according to another source, in 1856) in memory of his stay in the city in 1848–1849. A similar bust was given by Prince Anatoly Demidov as a gift to the town Spa in 1856.

The bust sits on an octagonal pedestal made of artificial marble. The front of the pedestal has a bronze plaque inscribed in Dutch: “Opgericht ter ere van tsaar Peter de Grote en als herinnering aan zijn verblijf te Brussel in 1717”. On the rear, there is a similar inscription in French engraved in gilt letters: “Érigé en l'honneur du czar Pierre le Grand et en mémoire de son séjour à Bruxelles en 1717” (which translates into English as “Erected in honor of Tsar Peter the Great to commemorate his stay in Brussels in 1717”).

The monument is located between the trees in a ravine in the corner of the park between Rue Ducale and Place des Palais. The location was chosen for a reason, as the area had long been home to the fountain of Mary Magdalene with an inscription referring to the visit of Peter I to Brussels.

In October 1993, the bust was stolen, but it was then found and returned to its site in 1997.

Bust of Peter the Great (Buste van Peter de Grote)


The Brussels (Royal) Park, between the central alley of the park and Rue Ducale, Brussels, Belgium

Belgique, Bruxelles, Parc de Bruxelles (Warandepark; Parc royal), entre l’allée centrale du Par cet la rue Ducale