Renovation of the Stade des Jeux and the Théâtre de Verdure01/06/2017

The Walloon Region has released €12 million for the renovation of the Théâtre de Verdure and the Stade des Jeux, both located at the top of the citadel. This is a very important step for the heritage of Namur which will be reinforced by the action.

This architectural complex, which was listed less than two years ago, will be restored and modernised in order to host all types of shows and events for the general public. The new developments described include the installation of a retractable roof to protect theatre-goers.

Built at the start of the 20th century, with the support of King Leopold II, at a time when the military vocation of Namur Citadel was declining, the Stade des Jeux and the Théâtre de Verdure are rare architectural features. The aim was to give the site in a more cultural and tourism dynamic. It was the first Belgian civil building built in reinforced concrete.

"They are exceptional heritage tools in Wallonia and are even unique of their kind in Europe", explains Maxime Prévot, the Walloon Heritage Minister and Mayor of Namur. "But after a century of existence, they have become damaged, the concrete is crumbling and falling and there are areas where we have had to prohibit public access as a security measure. Yet, it is a place that is designed to host major popular events as intended by Leopold II at the time".

Other sums have already been paid in recent years by regional authorities as well as by the Municipality of Namur with a view to restoring the entire citadel site and promoting it for tourism.

"Within twelve years of municipal legislature, we will have reached €29 million", explains Arnaud Gavroy, Alderman of the citadel. "And we are now adding €12 million for the stadium and the theatre. It's a lot of money. But it is needed, because it is an exceptional heritage site for the region and its capital. Citizens need to be reassured: the repair works we will carry out will be long-term ones because techniques have evolved and every euro invested will be returned all over Wallonia. We are using local companies, local materials and local engineers and workers. It is an element of our heritage that cannot be outsourced! We are going to enhance the reputation of the citadel".

With the Universal Exhibition in Milan, the citadel's attractiveness will also be reinforced by the installation of a Belgian pavilion. It will be mounted at the end of the esplanade, facing the Stade des Jeux. Construction works will start this summer. The pavilion will become a showcase for Walloon know-how in digital and new technologies.

Finally, the project for the new cable car between the centre of Namur and the citadel "has not been forgotten", ensures Maxime Prévot. Only those who replied to the call for projects should shortly be submitting a new proposal to the municipal authorities.

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