For many centuries, the rivers in large cities were heavily polluted. Drinking beer was therefore a lot safer than drinking water. Consequently, the brewing of beer was an important commercial activity in cities like Brussels. Atlas Brewery, built during the first half of the 19th century, was one of the largest breweries in Brussels and can be considered a gem of brewery architecture. Currently, the population increase in Brussels is causing a higher demand for homes and real estate developers are casting their eyes on the large industrial sites in the city. As a result, the existence of historic brewery buildings, like the Atlas brewery, is being threatened. In order to support owners, designers, real estate developers and governmental bodies in the respectful repurposing of this heritage, a study of these buildings is urgently required. This article outlines the evolution of breweries in Brussels by analysing the exceptional site of the Atlas brewery. It was founded during the final peak of the brewing industry in Brussels, and was built in the canal zone in Anderlecht. The site evolved from a brewery in a single building to a complex of buildings with a brewery tower, a studio, a warehouse, offices, stables and a hangar. All activity ceased on the site in 1950, when the company was taken over by Haacht Brewery. Although the brewing installations were dismantled at the time, the buildings have remained intact up to now. In 2001, the brewery was partially listed due to its historic, aesthetic, social and technical value.
Original languageDutch
Article number5
Pages (from-to)50-61
Number of pages12
JournalErfgoed Brussel
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2015

    Research areas

  • Brussels Capital Region, Construction history, Architectural history, Brewing industry, 19th-20th century, S.A. Grandes Brasseries Atlas

ID: 9123950