An Irish man has been arrested after causing significant damage to a sculpture outside the old Stock Exchange building in Brussels. "The Hand with the Torch" is one of two sculptures that line the building's entrance.
The incident happened last Sunday, just one day after the neoclassical building "La Bourse" reopened following a renovation that lasted three years and cost almost 90 million euros. These works included the restoration of the statue in question, which cost 17,500 euros.
A young Irishman has been arrested in Brussels, Belgium, after he climbed on to a recently renovated statue outside the stock exchange on Sunday and caused part of it to fall off, according to local media. Report here: https://t.co/dyx9mL0EDO pic.twitter.com/nalE6cGMjc
— The Irish Times (@IrishTimes) September 13, 2023
The building now houses a visitor centre focusing on the country's brewing history.
Video circulating online shows the young man, who appears to be drunk, climbing the sculpture which depicts a lion and a man with a torch next to him. As he tries to descend, the tourist grabs at one point to steady himself, causing the torch and part of the male figure's hand to detach.
The police found the man a little later in a nearby fast food restaurant and arrested him.
Belgian media reports that compensation of several thousand euros will be sought from the arrested person, who is said to be an Irish tourist.
According to the manager of the renovation works in the building, the new restoration of the historical sculpture is expected to cost a lot of money because they have to turn to specialised craftsmen.
The bourse building in central Brussels includes a beer museum and a co-working space. Its restoration was a major undertaking, with the conclusion of the project marked by special events on Saturday.
As part of the celebration, visitors were encouraged to drink Belgian beer, which has been listed by Unesco as part of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.