The area around the Congrès column is really worth visiting because it is steeped in history. But when we say "congrès", which congress do we mean? The word refers to the predecessor of the current Parliament, which was inaugurated in November 1830 just after the Belgian revolution, the body that in turn approved the Belgian Constitution in February 1831. In Europe at that time, this Constitution was revolutionary, for it gave the Belgian population four main freedoms that neighbouring populations were deprived of: freedom of religion, freedom of association, freedom in education and freedom of the press.
If we look at the rue du Congrès that runs from opposite the column, in its centre, to the left, is the "place de la Liberté", or liberty square. Four roads lead off from this pretty, tree-lined square: rue de la presse, rue de l'enseignement, rue de l'association and the rue des cultes. Their names are highly evocative! If we go further, many of the adjoining streets also have names reminiscent of the birth of Belgium: rue du Moniteur, rue de la Tribune, rue de la Révolution, rue du Gouvernement provisoire and also the place des Barricades.