The Hungarian state acquired the property at 9 Rue de la Loi in Brussels, the former building of the Belgian Ministry of Finance, for 10 million euros in 2021. Reconstruction is progressing swiftly, and according to Hungarian Ambassador to Belgium Tamás Iván Kovács, the palace named Hungarian House is expected to be inaugurated by June 2024. Tamás Iván Kovács told Hungarian news site Index that the palace symbolizes Hungary’s commitment to robust European representation, particularly in light of the fact that Hungary will assume the rotating presidency of the EU for six months in July next year.
Under the title ‘Orbán Viktor brings a cultural war to Brussels,’ Politico recently published an article remarking on the Prime Minister’s initiative for Hungary to purchase the palace on Rue de la Loi to add a Hungarian touch to the European Quarter.
The Hungarian state recently purchased the former building of the Belgian Ministry of Finance building to provide space for flagship programmes during the 2024 presidency. According to Tamás Iván Kovács, Hungary’s ambassador in Brussels, the location of the property, situated in the heart of the Belgian government and office district, bordering the EU Quarter and within a 10–15 minute walk from the main EU institutions, underscores Hungary’s commitment to robust Belgian and European representation.
‘I believe we could not have found a more excellent location,’ stated Kovács Tamás Iván to Index. The property, along with the diplomatic work conducted there, is poised to serve as both a catalyst for the diverse Hungarian–Belgian bilateral relations, which recently celebrated their centenary, and
a venue for political, professional, economic, and cultural events related to the European Union.
‘When selecting the property, the central location was the most important criterion, making this prestigious building suitable for its previous function in the heart of the Belgian government and office district, adjacent to the EU Quarter and the famous Parc de Bruxelles,’ explained Tamás Iván Kovács. He added that the ‘palace’ at Rue de la Loi 9 holds immense prestige, directly facing the Belgian Prime Minister’s office and being in close proximity to the Belgian Federal Parliament.
‘The other side of our building faces the park on Rue Ducale, where numerous diplomatic representations, including the French and American embassies, the residences of the British and Swiss ambassadors are located,’ stated the ambassador. The Royal Palace, the Belgian legislature, the Flemish Parliament, the office of the Prime Minister of the Brussels–Capital Region, the parliament of the Brussels–Wallonia French-speaking community, and the offices of the Belgian federal ministers of finance and the interior are also found in the vicinity of Brussels Park.
‘With its 2165 square metres and ‘Triple A’ rating, I am convinced that the Hungarian state made a very good deal with the purchase of this building,’ said Olivier Carette, Executive Director of the Belgian Real Estate Association. He added that the property, classified as ‘Triple A,’ belongs to the best-rated real estate in Brussels. Carette mentioned the excellent public transportation and the building’s proximity to Zaventem National Airport, just 12.5 km away. Considering the planned complete renovation by June 2024, he believes the property’s value will exponentially increase.
The Hungarian state acquired the former Ministry of Finance building for 10 million euros in 2021, a sum apparently below the appraised value. Due to its location and high prestige, the property is in fact practically priceless, according to the ambassador. He asserted that in most EU countries, it would be inconceivable for another country to obtain such a prestigious and unique building in the heart of the government district.
According to the ambassador, the construction work is progressing well, and as per the valid schedule, the complete renovation of the building will be finished by June 2024. According to information from Index, the owner of the adjacent property has filed an objection against the building permit for the Hungarian House. However, this procedure, not uncommon in Belgium, has not disrupted the process, and the June deadline appears to be feasible.
Architectural visualization images of the transformed palace can be viewed on Index.
Sources: Hungarian Conservative/Index