The Port of Brussels, as a regional company, was founded in 1993, following a reform of the Belgian State which regionalised the ports and the waterways
But the history of the Port Brussels is much older since Brussels was born on the banks of the Senne, a river which still crosses the city, but which is largely invisible since it was vaulted in the 19th century.
The whims of the Senne and the commercial wars between rival cities through which the Senne ran convinced the City of Brussels, then part of the Duchy of Burgundy, of the construction of a canal in order to ensure the city’s commercial flows. It was in 1550 that the then Mayor of Brussels, Jean de Locquenghien, gave the first blow of the pickaxe for the construction of the first canal connecting Brussels to the River Rupel. Docks were also built in the downtown area and the port then went as far as Place Ste Catherine.
The development of coal-mining and the iron and steel industry in the Charleroi region then led to the construction of a new canal, connecting Brussels to Charleroi. A canal which was started to be built when Belgium was part of the Netherlands, and which was inaugurated in 1832, that is to say two years after Belgium achieved its independence.
The economic development of Belgium and Brussels then allowed, at the end of the 19th century, the enlargement of the Brussels-Antwerp canal in order to make Brussels a seaport. The two canals - Brussels-Antwerp and Brussels-Charleroi - would then be joined at the level of Place Sainctelette and the docks of the downtown area filled in order to give the current configuration of a waterway crossing Brussels from north to south.
And it is therefore in 1993 that the Brussels Region took over the destiny of its port with the creation of the Port of Brussels in its current form, that of an organisation of public interest in charge of the management of the waterway and the marketing of the port estate of Brussels.
For further information: La Fonderie