JULY 2011 / MARCH 2012 -40 PHOTOS



The Chamber de Commerce alias Cdc is an absolutely fabulous Stock Exchange location, located in a busy city and surrounded by ugly concrete buildings. Only the four relative narrow passages are giving a small glimpse of what the inside of this beautiful queen has to shown. The current building is a reconstruction from 1872. The original building dates from 1531, this late Gothic styled stock market has been burned twice [1583 and 1858]. The CdC is built on top of an existing street intersection with originally no roof, only four covered streets, the still existing and impressive galleries. Originally it was a public place in the open air with some canopies where one could hide, with a rectangular square where the daily live took place. Around 1853 the square and galleries where covered with a dome modeled on the Crystal Palace in London. The fine furniture and interior joinery jumps in the eye, the whole is rich in details, full of structures and subtile color tones. The pillars around the square all have their own identity, amazing! Once you enter the impressive hart of the queen the sight will be overwhelming!

Today this beautiful trade building is in a dilapidated state! The wooden floor is completely loose, walls are starting to crumble, painted wands and ceilings are fading to grey. Moisture and pigeons have left their devastating marks. And the painted emblems on the stunningly curved main ceiling are rotting and falling down! In 2003 the Stock Exchange was closed following a report on fire safety. Since then nothing more was done to protect this abandoned work of art. There where plans for a new future as an exhibition hall and ballroom. In 2008 the city announced that a private investor would renovate the Stock Exchange and would make an agora with stores. They would also have space for a grand cafe, restaurant and several small shops. The city issued a building permit for the ambitious plan of a luxurious hotel, but in practice very little happened to give the building new live! In the outbuildings we see evidence of work, so possible one has yet begun the previously scheduled work. When the renovation of this monumental building will begin remains unclear. Amazing how a building with such a long history could be abandoned, left behind into decline!

We had the opportunity to photograph this well protected beauty for more then 4 hours in 2011. And on our 3 revisits in March 2012 the last time was on my own. Me, myself and I, one. Noone else. For 3,5 hours the beautiful queen was mine. She showed me everything, all of her secrets explored! Though I like to document and photograph abandoned buildings the need to protect this beauty is urgent.