Institut Henri Jaspar
THE ABANDONED SCHOOL IN BELGIUM
The grounds in Kraainem, on which the ‘Institut Henri Jaspar’ was built were acquired in 1919 by a Royal donation to build a shelter there. Eventually the site was abandoned in 1986.
The Kraainem boarding school was known in the region as a shelter for children from the lower social classes living in Brussel and surroundings.
The oldest building on the site was built in 1920. In 1929 the current central building in cottage style was built, thereupon the wing from 1920 was demolished later that year. Meanwhile more new buildings were added in 1936 and 1938. The site was named ‘Institut Henri Jaspar’ in 1937. Jaspar was born in Schaerbeek and trained as a lawyer. He represented Liège as a Catholic in the Belgian Chamber of Representatives from 1919 until 1936. He served as the 27th Prime Minister of Belgium from 1926 to 1931. Further in 1924 he was made an honorary Minister of State.
During the Second World War there were plans for further expansion, but they are never realized. Just after the war, architect Haeck delivers a new total design. As a result, the existing wings were demolished and replaced in 1947 by the current wings on both sides of the central building. This gave the complex its current look and U-shaped floor plan.
After all ‘Institut Henri Jaspar’ stopped giving accommodation to children in Kraainem in 1986. But still today the organization screens and checks private children accommodations in Belgium. I visited the boarding school in 2006.