By John Smith • 17 September 2023 • 12:44
Still from Police Video
Credit: X (Twitter)
Just one day after the old Brussels Stock Exchange building was reopened following a four-year facelift which cost €90 million part of an important statue was broken by a drunk tourist.
The building now houses the Belgian Beer World exhibition and bar although it is not known whether the young man, identified as being an Irish visitor to the country, had been drinking there but it has been confirmed that he was ‘merry’ to say the least and as Brussels is one beer capitals of the world he would have been spoiled for choice.
Police officers saw the man climb a statue, one of a pair which stand outside the building, with the apparent intention of getting an interesting selfie but a video which officers shot showed that he got into some difficulty.
As he was clambering over the recently cleaned statue of a warrior standing with a lion, he appeared to slip and grasping hold of the warriors arm to steady himself, managed to break the arm off which then dropped to the ground.
He then decided it was time to make his escape and wandered into a local fast food outlet were he was subsequently arrested, reportedly claiming that he hadn’t realised how much damage he had caused.
Speaking to VRT News, a shocked representative of the company responsible for the building, project manager Nel Vandevennet said “We would like to carry out the repairs quickly, but it will surely take a few weeks or even months. The whole building has only just been restored to its former glory, including the two lions which were in a bad way. We thought the sculptures would enjoy greater respect. We just think it’s very sad this happened,”
It is estimated that replacing the arm will cost in the region of €17,000 and some media outlets have speculated that the tourist will be expected to pay for the damage, although much will depend on Belgian law and a court ruling.
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Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica.
Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene.
Currently he is acting as Editorial Consultant for the paper helping to shape its future development.
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