Belgium (Southern Netherlands)
Development of the principalities forming modern-day Belgium.
From 1384, the Dukes of Burgundy gradually acquired sovereignty over all the principalities forming modern-day Belgium, except Liege, through marriage, inheritance, purchase and conquest.
The Flemish Primitives
The painting of the “Flemish Primitives” – including Jan Van Eyck, Hans Memling and Rogier Van der Weyden – developed thanks to patronage from the Burgundian dukes.
Order of the Golden Fleece
The Duke of Burgundy, Philip the Good, created the prestigious Order of the Golden Fleece in 1430.
The Habsburg Netherlands
The Netherlands came under the sovereignty of the Habsburgs following the marriage of Mary of Burgundy and Maximilian of Habsburg.
Charles V (1500-1558) reigned over the Netherlands from 1515 to 1555.
Despite the Eighty Years’ War, Baroque “Flemish” painting included several renowned painters.
The Spanish Netherlands
Following the abdication of Charles V in favour of his son Philip II, the kings of Spain gained sovereignty over the Netherlands.
The Austrian Netherlands
Following the War of Spanish Succession, the Southern Netherlands passed under the sovereignty of the Austrian Habsburgs.
The French period
After several disordered years, the Netherlands and Liege were annexed to the French Republic and divided into nine departments.
The United Kingdom of the Netherlands
The nine “Belgian” departments were joined together with the modern-day Netherlands to form the United Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The Belgian revolution
The southern provinces of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands revolted and proclaimed their independence, forming the Kingdom of Belgium.
With a very liberal constitution, the young Belgium supported and encouraged the development of Belgian industry (particularly the steel industry).
Art Nouveau was seen as a modern style of architecture after historicist and eclectic movements.
The First World War
The whole of Belgium was occupied by the German army during WWI, with the exception of the region south of the River Yser.
The Second World War
The whole of Belgium was occupied by German troops during WWII.
A federal state
Belgium became a federal state composed of three regions and three communities.
Crusades in the Holy Land
The Crusades were armed pilgrimages led by Western Christians to reclaim the Holy Land from the Muslims. Preached by Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont, the first crusade led to the taking of Jerusalem in 1099 and the founding of the Crusader States.
The First Crusade
It was during the Council of Clermont on 27th November 1095 that Pope Urban II preached the First Crusade.
The Black Death
The Black Death epidemic came from Asia with the Mongol invasions and spread through Europe along the trade routes. By 1347, it had spread over the entire continent and would destroy it within four to five years.
The Age of Discovery
Economic factors and a desire to spread Christianity were the main reasons behind the Age of Discovery. The Portuguese explored the African coast as early as 1418 and Vasco de Gama reached the Indian coast after going round the African continent.
The term Renaissance refers to a rebirth of European art that originated in Italy in the 15th century. It is intimately linked to Humanism and the rediscovery of ancient literature, philosophy and science.
Humanism was an intellectual movement born in Italy, especially in Florence around figures such as Petrarch and later, Marsilio Ficino and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola.
The Invention of Printing
Originally discovered in China, printing was reinvented and perfected in Europe in the 15th century at the instigation of the German goldsmith Gutenberg. He invented an efficient method to use identical sized letters and proceeded to combine existing techniques such as the use of a press and ink.
The Fall of Constantinople
In 1453, the Byzantine Empire no longer had the means to resist against Ottoman power. Constantinople was besieged by Sultan Mehmed II’s troops in April 1453.
In the 8th century, Muslims dominated most of the Iberian Peninsula. The Reconquista was the reconquest of these territories by Spanish Christian sovereigns.
The Discovery of America
Christopher Columbus was convinced that China and Japan were relatively close to Europe and that consequently it was easy to reach them by navigating towards the west. The expedition, financed by Isabella of Castile, left on 3rd August 1492 with three caravels and reached land on 12th October on San Salvador in the Bahamas.
The Protestant Reformation
The 14–15 th-century unrest led to a desire for religious reform and a return to Christian basics.
The 95 Theses
In response to the sale of indulgences by the Catholic Church in 1516 to finance the construction of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Martin Luther published 95 theses in the form of placards.
The Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an intellectual movement that began in Europe in the 13th century to fight against Obscurantism through the transmission of knowledge.
The French Revolution
The French Revolution was a social and political event that questioned the privileges of the clergy and the nobility and with them, the system of absolute monarchy. Inspired by the ideas of the Enlightenment
Start of the French Revolution
The series of events that occurred in 1789 marked the start of the French Revolution. Following the failure of the Estates-General to reach an agreement, the National Assembly was formed on 17th June.
Industrialisation describes the passage from a dominantly agrarian society to a commercial and industrial one. Starting in England, this process gradually spread across Europe and the United States of America.
The First French Empire
The Empire was the regime established in France by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1804 to replace the Consulate. Following a series of military victories, including Austerlitz, Iéna, Friedland and Wagram, he reached the peak of his expansion in 1811, covering half of Europe.
The Revolutions of 1848
The year 1848 saw the culmination of a succession of revolutions across Europe. Inspired by the French Revolution in February 1848, the Germans, Italians, Hungarians, Czechs, Poles, Austrians and others rose up, demanding liberal reforms
World War I
World War I was a military conflict, initially limited to Europe and its colonies, which then grew to become a worldwide affair with the involvement of the Japanese and the United States. Approximately 9 million people died during the war, an unprecedented number.
The Versailles Treaty
The Versailles Treaty was the peace treaty signed on 28th June 1919 between Germany and the allies at the end of World War I Germany was proclaimed responsible for the war and condemned to pay for the damage caused by the conflict.
World War II
World War II began on 1st September 1939 with the German invasion of Poland. Initially limited to Europe, it became a world war when the USSR, Japan and the US became involved in 1941.
The Cold War
The Cold War was a period of ideological and political conflict between the United States and the USSR, and their respective allies. Europe was divided between the communist Eastern bloc and the West, supported by the Marshall Plan.
Decolonisation was the process of emancipation of the colonies leading to their independence. It began in 1775 in America but it was not until after World War II, from 1945 to 1975, that Europe lost the majority of its colonial empires in Asia and Africa.
The European Union
The construction of Europe originated in the Treaty of Rome, signed in 1957 by Germany (FRG), Belgium, France, Italy, Luxemburg and the Netherlands.
of Normandy before becoming King of England after the battle of Hastings in
1066, William the Conqueror is the first Norman King of England.
From 1095 to 1291, European armies went
restoring Christian control of the Holy Land by demand of the Pope.
Heiress of the duchy of Aquitaine, Eleanor of
Aquitaine played a great role in the balance of power between the kingdoms of
France and England.
poet in the late 12th century, he is considered to be the inventor
of the modern novel.
Louis IX of France
The reign of Louis 9th was a
« golden age » for France both economically and politically.
Celebrated for his piety, Louis 9th was known for his rightness and
his reform of the royal judicial system.
Hundred Years’ War
For longer than 100 years, France and England
have fought for the right to the French crown. This war greatly damaged France
and introduced new weapons that rapidly defeated the English longbows.
The Great Pestilence
the mid-14th century, Europe suffered greatly from the Black Death, which
Killed up to 60% of Europe’s inhabitants by following commercial paths all the
way to Russia.
Claiming to be guided by God, she led the
French army to many victories during the Hundred Years’ War. Captured, she was
later burned at stake by the English in 1431.
Rabelais is a French Renaissance writer of the 16th century famous
for his Gargantuan series.
I of France
Francis I is not only a true Renaissance’s
Prince but also the founder of Modern France.
Also known as the Great Wars of Italy, they
mostly are the result of the claim of four French Kings, from Charles VIII to
Henri II, on the Kingdom of Naples and the Duchy of Milan.
With Martin Luther, John Calvin is one of the
principal figures of the Protestant Reform in the 16th century’s
Catherine de’ Medici is one of the most
emblematic figure of the 16th century. Queen of France then regent,
she had a great influence on political decisions during the reigns of her three
of Golden Cloth
Also known as the Field of the Cloth of Gold,
the meeting between Henry VIII and Francis I took place between June 7th
and June 24th 1520.
Michel de Montaigne
Famous above all for his Essais, Michel de Montaigne lived in the 16th century
and was not only a writer, but also a moralist, a philosopher and a politician.
IV of France
King of Navarre before becoming King of France in 1589, Henry IV is the first
French king of the Bourbon branch.
Wars of Religion
Reaching its climax on August 24th
1572 with St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre, this civil war between Protestants
and Catholics raged for nearly 40 years in France before coming to an end in
Jean de La fontaine
Jean de la Fontaine is one of the most famous
French fabulist. His work, and especially his Fables, is nowadays seen as one of the 17th century’s
Molière is a famous French playwright and actor of
the second half of the 17th century. He is considered one of the
greatest masters of comedy of French literature.
XIV (1638-1715), king of France from 1643 to 1715
the minority of Louis XIV and the government of his chief minister Mazarin,
the lords and parliaments rebel against royal authority.
XIV and his minister Colbert protect the royal academies and create new ones.
Thereby, artists and scientists are serving the State.
of the Ancients and the Moderns
in 1670, partisans of the Ancients and of the Moderns are opposed in a
of Louis XV of France
XV (1710-1774), King of France from 1715 to 1774.
of Louis XVI of France
XVI (1754-1793), King of France from 1774 to 1791, and King of the French
from 1791 to 1792.
May 1789 with the opening of the Estates-general to November 1799 with the
coup of Napoleon Bonaparte, the French Revolution is a real turnover in
French history and marks the end of the absolute monarchy.
(1769-1821), First Consul (1799-1804) and Emperor of the French (1804-1814).
He was exiled on the island of Saint Helena after his defeat at Waterloo in
Treaty of Versailles
on June 28th 1919, the Treaty of Versailles put an end to the 1st World War.
« Peace » or « Diktat », this Treaty contains the germs
of the causes of a second conflict, 20 years later.
The Piast Dynasty
Around the year 1000, Poland is ruled by the Piast dynasty. Duke Mieszko I, first know ruler of Poland, is baptised in 966, a date which marks the entry of Poland into the Christian world.
I, First King of Poland
I, son of Mieszko I, secured the country's position on the European scene.
His reign reached its peak with his coronation in 1025.
Cracow Academy, First University of Poland
III the Great, the last ruler of the Piast Dynasty, founded in 1364 the first
university of Poland, the Cracow Academy.
The Personal Polish-Lithuanian Union
the Polish-Lithuanian Union established in Krewo, Ladislaus II Jagiello
became king of Poland and prince of Lithuania. Christianisation was
progressing in Lithuania.
Battle of Grunwald
battlefields of Grunwald Polish-Lithuanian forces confronted the Knights of
the Teutonic Order. The Battle of Grunwald is a landmark in the history of
medieval Europe, which witnessed the severe defeat of the Teutonic Knights.
Power at its Peak
1490 to 1526 the representatives of the Jagiellon Dynasty ruled over Poland,
Lithuania, Bohemia and
The Polish-Lithuanian Real Union is Proclaimed
King Sigismund II Augustus's leadership the Polish-Lithuanian real union was
officially proclaimed in 1564. The Commonwealth was born.
First Free Election
Sigismund II Augustus died, the first free election were organised. Noblemen
elected to the throne the French Henri of Valois.
is chosen king
1674 Jan Sobieski is chosen king in free election. The nobility appreciates
his grand victories on battlefields and his leadership skills.
wins near Vienna
commander-in-chief of the Christian forces, Jan III Sobieski wins the battle
against huge Turkish troops near Vienna and stops the Ottoman Empire in its
march into Europe.
partition of Poland
loses a large percentage of its territory seized by neighbouring states.
first constitution in European history.
1807-1815 the independent Polish state is substituted by the Duchy of Warsaw,
established by Emperor Napoleon I.
123 years of successive partitions, on 11 November 1918 Poland regains
World War II
Germany started World War II by invading Poland on September 1, 1939.
World War II - consequences
In 1945, following the Second World War, Poland's borders were redrawn. Poland was converted into Soviet-controlled country.
Nobel Prize in Literature for Czesław Miłosz
Nobel Prize in Literature 1980 was awarded to Czesław Miłosz, Polish poet and writer living in the US.
the years of communist regime, democratic opposition in Poland gets the upper
hand. The so-called August Agreements are signed.
The Nobel Peace Prize 1983 for Lech Wałęsa, leader of "Solidarity"
The Nobel Peace Prize 1983 was awarded to Lech Wałęsa, leader of "Solidarity" - free trade unions.
Nobel Prize in Literature 1996 for Wisława Szymborska
Nobel Prize in Literature 1996 was awarded to Wisława Szymborska, Polish poet living in Kraków.
of Poland to EU structures confirms the state's democratic growth following
the collapse of communism.
Castle of Chambord (France)
The Counts of Blois in Chambord
During two centuries, the counts of Blois frequently visit the manors of Chambord and Montfraut.
Beginning of the construction of the Renaissance's castle
On September 6th, 1519, Francis I decides to have a new castle built at Chambord.
Captivity of Francis I by Charles V
Following Francis I's defeat against Charles V's imperial troops at Pavia and the captivity of the French king, the construction of Chambord is put on hold for two years.
Treaty of Chambord
On January 15th, 1552, the treaty of Chambord is signed between Henri II and the German Protestant princes, fighting against the emperor Charles V.
Visits of Louis XIV
Between 1660 and 1685, Louis XIV stays six times at Chambord during the autumns.
Stanisław Leszczyński, King of Poland
Stanisław Leszczyński, deposed king of Poland and father in law of Louis XV enjoys the use of Chambord during eight years.
The castle opens to the public
Listed in 1840 as a Historical Monument of France, the castle opens to the public around 1850.
Evacuation of works of art to Chambord
The most noteworthy works of art from French museums are evacuated to Chambord in order to protect them for the air raids on Paris.
Coudenberg - Former Palace of Brussels (Belgium)
A castle on Coudenberg
There was a castle on Coudenberg hill from the beginning of the 11th century. The Count of Leuven and Brussels stayed there when he was in town.
A ducal manor
The Count of Leuven and Brussels had a manor built on Coudenberg hill, near the castle belonging to the Lord of Brussels.
First set of city walls
The castles belonging to the Duke and to the Lord were located inside the first set of city walls, although the gardens of the ducal manor were outside the walls.
Joanna Duchess of Brabant
Joanna, Duchess of Brabant (1322-1406) was the Duchess of Brabant and Limburg from 1355 to 1406. She frequently spent time in Brussels and helped to enlarge and improve the ducal manor.
Joanna, Duchess of Brabant had substantial changes made to the palace, particularly in the chapel and the corps de logis (main block).
Second set of city walls
The second set of city walls was larger than the first, and included the ducal palace, the gardens and the great animal park.
Duke Philip the Good
Philip the Good succeeded his uncle Philip of Saint Pol. He made Brussels one of the capitals of his possessions.
Philip the Good changed and enlarged his palace in Brussels during his reign: he altered the corps de logis (main block), entrance porch and gardens, and built several successive banqueting halls.
The Aula Magna is built
Philip the Good commissioned the City of Brussels to construct a great banqueting hall – the Aula Magna – between 1452 and 1460.
Charles the Bold made changes to the main corps de logis (main block).
Capital of the Netherlands
The main institutions of the government of the Netherlands, as well as the sovereigns and their representatives, settled permanently in Brussels at the beginning of the 16th century.
Charles V succeeded his father, Philip the Handsome, as sovereign of the principalities forming the Netherlands in 1506. He regularly spent time in his palace in Brussels.
Albrecht Dürer spent time in Brussels during his travels in the Netherlands in 1520-1521. He wrote about the places he visited and illustrated them in many drawings in his journal.
The Gothic chapel
A new chapel was built in the Late Gothic style under the reign of Charles V.
Mary of Hungary enlarged the main corps de logis (main block) to include a grand gallery overlooking the park.
Abdication of Charles V
A princely marriage
Alexander Farnese, son of the Governess General, married Infanta Maria of Portugal at Coudenberg Palace.
Archduke Albert and Infanta Isabella received sovereignty over the Netherlands on the occasion of their marriage.
The Archdukes resided primarily in Brussels and changed the palace’s main corps de logis (main block) and the entrance porch considerably.
Ingelantstraat – a narrow street running along the palace – was re-laid and extended to the Collegiate Church of Sainte-Gudula. It was renamed in honour of Infanta Isabella.
Almost the entire palace was ravaged by fire in 1731. The Court moved to Nassau House.
The “burnt court”
The former palace remained in ruins for 40 years and was known as the “burnt court”.
The new royal district
After 40 years of equivocation, the political will and financial means finally came together for a large-scale architectural project – creating the current place Royale.
The 1935 exhibition
The Brussels International Exhibition of 1935 in Heysel included a life-size reconstruction of part of the former palace.
The vestiges forming the current Coudenberg Archaeological Site were gradually registered as listed buildings.
Several archaeological digs have enabled us to discover a large part of the old ducal palace.
Opening up to the public
The archaeological site was opened up to the public in 2000 and an archaeological museum was opened in 2009.
Palace of Versailles (France)
Born in a family of gardeners, Le Nôtre was a French landscape architect and the principal gardener of King Louis XIV of France.
In 1623, a hunting lodge was built by Nicolas Huau to receive king Louis XIII when he came hunting near the village of Versailles. and stone...
In 1661 at the beginning of his personal reign, Louis XIV showed a great interest in his father’s hunting lodge...
Pleasures of the Enchanted Island
The Pleasures of the Enchanted Island, one of the great festivities organised at Versailles by Louis XIV, was the first collaboration between Molière and Lully...
Louis XIV decided to extend the palace and transform it into a residence worthy of a great monarch...
The Grande Commande was a commission ordered by Louis XIV for statues intended to decorate Versailles’ gardens...
Hall of Mirrors
Designed to dazzle Louis XIV’s visitors, the hall of Mirrors is a passageway and a meeting place frequented by courtiers and the visiting public...
Versailles, capitale of the kingdom
Versailles, humble village, was transformed by Louis XIV into a modern city and became the official seat of the government, as well as the main residence of the Court in May 6th, 1682...
The Royal Chapel
Four chapels followed one another until Louis XIV, Most Christian king, undertook in 1689 the construction of a place of worship worthy of the palace.
The Petit Trianon was built on a request of Louis XV for Madame de Pompadour in 1760...
Royal Opera house
In 1682, Louis XIV ordered Jules Hardouin-Mansard the construction of an opera house...
Marie-Antoinette, daughter of the emperor Francis I of Lorraine and Maria-Theresa of Autria, married Louis XVI, then dauphin of France in 1770...
Museum of the History of France
Louis XVI’s cousin, Louis-Philippe became King of the French in 1830 and decided to turn the palace of Versailles into a museum dedicated to « all the glories of France », destroying many prince’s apartments, but saving the palace from neglect...
After the fall of Napoléon III, the National Assembly was elected in 1871 and met up in Bordeaux...
Since Queen Victoria’s visit in 1855, Versailles had been the privileged setting for France’s diplomatic receptions...
Wilanów Palace (Poland)
Sobieski finds Milanów, a quiet village near the capital city, situated at a
scenic bend of the River Vistula.
of King Jan III Sobieski
Jan III Sobieski employs architect Augustyn Locci who draws plans and
supervises the construction of the new palace.
body of the palace
Palace combines the style of a 16th-century Italian villa with a French entre cour et jardin palace from the
times of Louis XIV.
of the palace are profusely decorated with frescoes and stuccoes. Employed
are outstanding artists such as Michelangelo Palloni and Jerzy Eleuter
wings of the palace
Marshal Elżbieta Sieniawska purchases the palace from King Jan III Sobieski's
sons and extends it by adding side wings.
Poland Augustus II of the Wettin family rents the Wilanów Palace.
of 3 pavilions
Izabela Lubomirska adds three new pavilions to the Wilanów Palace.
Bogumił Zug creates an English-Chinese garden in the Wilanów residence.
1799 Izabela Lubomirska hands the Wilanów residence over to her daughter
Aleksandra and son-in-law Stanisław Kostka Potocki, an outstanding
politician, collector and scholar.
Kostka Potocki restructures and enlarges the Wilanów park, giving it an
1805 Stanisław Kostka Potocki makes his collection of art available to the
1815 Potocki publishes “History of Ancient Art, or the Polish Winkelmann”, a
comprehensive translation of Johann Joachim Winkelmann's classic,
supplemented with chapters on oriental art.
of the Potockis
forefield of the Wilanów Palace Aleksander Potocki raises a monumental,
neo-Gothic mausoleum of his parents, Aleksandra and Stanisław Kostka Potocki.
Potocki inherits the Wilanów residence from his father Aleksander. Assisted
by his wife, he converts the palace and enlarges his collection of art.
architect Henryk Marconi designs a neo-Renaissance chapel in the assumed
location of King Jan III Sobieski's death.
Bolesław Podczaszyński designs a neo-Renaissance rose garden near the south
elevation of the Wilanów Palace.
her husband's death, wife of late August Potocki, Aleksandra for 25 years
maintains the palace and the amassed collection, which she makes available to
Aleksandra Potocka's death, the residence passes on first to Ksawery Branicki
and then to Adam Branicki.
World War II
During World War II the palace is devastated by Nazi invaders.
taken by state
Palace is nationalized on the strength of decree dated 28 January 1945.
marks the beginning of thorough restoration works in the palace and the park,
financed by the public sector.
Wilanów Palace Museum is established in 1995.
restoration works are launched in the Wilanów Palace and its park.
and nature museum
Palace Museum is toured by more than 1.5 million visitors each year.