New Chancery building inaugurated in Brussels
On 16 June 2016, the new Chancery building of the Ethiopian Embassy in Brussels was inaugurated in the presence of Ethiopian Prime Minister H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopian Ambassador Teshome Toga, Mr. Dirk Achten, Secretary General at the Belgian Foreign Ministry and other high officials from Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the European Union as well as representatives from the private sector, the Ethiopian Diaspora in the Benelux countries and personalities from the academic sector. During his opening speech, H.E. Hailemariam Dessalegn recalled the official relations between Ethiopia and Belgium dated back to 1906, and that the long-standing relations between the two countries were cemented since then. The inauguration of this new building is the occasion to celebrate the growing relations of Ethiopia with the Kingdom of Belgium and with the European Union. The recent Strategic Engagement Agreement signed between Ethiopia and the EU is a sign for the growing relation between the two partners, and said the important university cooperation with Belgium should continue in the future. On his part, H.E. Ambassador Teshome Toga recalled that the relation of the EU and the Benelux countries with Ethiopia has evolved from donor-recipient relation to an all-rounded cooperation over the years. He noted that Ethiopia has been present in Brussels for over 40 years and that now it can proudly call a place of its own in the city. Mr. Dirk Achten, Secretary General at the Federal Public Service of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation underlined that this event is a milestone in the relations between Belgium and Ethiopia, showing how active this relationship is today. Brussels and Addis share many common points, since they are both diplomatic capitals of their continents. He also thanked the Prime Minister and the First Lady for having included a significant Belgian program during their visit in Brussels. The new chancery building, located on the Avenue de Tervuren 64, was previously owned by the Spanish Cervantes Institute. Acquired in 2014 by the Government of Ethiopia, the building offers a total space of 1,757 m2 on five floors. It will accommodate the Ethiopian diplomatic institution in Brussels comprising the Embassy, accredited to the Benelux and Baltic countries, the Ethiopian Mission to the European Union and a Consular section delivering visa and other documents to Benelux and Baltic citizen visiting Ethiopia. Built in 1913 by Belgian architect Charles Neirynck, the building was first used for private purposes until the Second world war, when it was occupied by the German army. After the war, the building was used for various institutions until 1997 when the Cervantes Institute moved in. Designed in the Italian Renaissance Revival style, this building is considered as the masterpiece of Charles Neirynck who also designed other buildings on the same avenue as well as along the Étangs d’Ixelles and on the Avenue Molière in Brussels. It is protected as a historical monument since 1997 by the Brussels Region. The most prominent features of the building include the facade with four spans and terraces as well as an imposing tripartite salon with plaster moldings and wall paintings. The building is the first property of the Ethiopian government in Belgium and the fourth in Europe, after Moscow, Berlin, Rome and London.