The Palace of the Prince-Bishop at Liège is finer than the Louvre … in Paris, remarked an admiring Philippe de Hurges in 1615. Two centuries later, Victor Hugo exclaimed: Never have I seen anywhere a more curious building & or one more superb. Wallonias greatest civic monument has been the distinctive landmark of Liège for over a thousand years. Constructed at the end of the first millennium by Bishop Notger, founder of the Principality of Liège, it was rebuilt in the 16th century by Érard de la Marck during the citys cultural renaissance. The centre of political, judicial and religious authority, the Palace was home to the Bishop-Prince and his court as well as the seat of numerous institutions, echoing with the voices of the citains thronging its galleries.

After the Liège Revolution of 1789, the Palace fell into obscurity, only to regain its importance in the 1800s when Liège became the economic hub of the worlds second most powerful industrial nation. It now housed the provincial government in Charles Delsauxs neo-Gothic wing while the courts of justice occupied 18th-century halls famed for their ceilings by Georges-Louis de Berghes and Jean-Théodore de Bavière. The exquisite decoration of these rooms is the equal of anything in Europes grandest palaces.

With its kaleidoscopic cultural legacy, the palace enshrines the regions future. The authors are all recognised experts in relevant fields; geographers, jurists and literary figures from north and south follow the historians and specialists in art history in revealing the encouraging signs of a new revival, as the Palace sends out a message of pride to contemporary Belgium. Nowhere is this more evident than in Régine Mahauxs contribution which blends sensitivity and romanticism in a unique artists vision.

Here is a work that throws a fresh and searching light on this emblematic monument.

Dutch, German en English summaries at the end of the publication.

Contributions by: Francis BALACE, Bruno DEMOULIN, Laurent DEMOULIN,
Jean-Patrick DUCHESNE, Guido FONTEYN, Isabelle GRAULICH, Pierre-Yves KAIRIS, Jean-Marie KLINKENBERG, Jean-Louis KUPPER, Catherine LANNEAU, Régine MAHAUX, Bernadette MERENNE, Cécile OGER, Michel PÂQUES, Philippe RAXHON.