Belgian expansionism and the making of Egyptology, 1830-1952

In Belgium, Egyptology emerged later than elsewhere in Europe, but once under steam, it went through a rapid growth in the course of the first half of the 20th century. In the 1930s Brussels was occasionally even referred to as ‘the capital of Egyptology’.

Heliopolis.  © Le Soir Illustré, 15 Mar 1930.
"Frans van Kuyck", Book of Gold City of Antwerp, Part 1 1866-1892, p. 191. © FelixArchief.
"Ferdinand de Lesseps", Book of Gold City of Antwerp, Part 1 1866-1892, p. 144. © FelixArchief.
The Albert Eid & Co. antiquities store in Cairo. © Nag Hammadi Archive, Claremont Graduate University. Institute for Antiquity and Christianity, School of Religion.
Jean Capart - Severin Fresque © KMKG - MRAH
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News and activities

A glimpse behind the façade of the obscure belle époque Hasse-Gitten estate Sunday morning, you’re awake way too early and you end up watching an American ‘hoarders’-reality show. Before you even realise it, you’re gazing at someone who has crammed all the corners of a house with piles of clutter ...

27 Oct 2019
"Pyramids and Progress" is looking for a full-time archivist. If this is a job for you, send in your application before 14 October via the link below. Applications both in French and in Dutch are accepted. More info: ...

25 Sep 2019
On Saturday September 21, 2019, P&P-member dr. Dorian Vanhulle will give a lecture at La Séance de Rentrée d'Egyptologica which will be hosted in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre. The title of his lecture will be La petite histoire de la collection d’antiquités égyptiennes du Duc de Brabant, futur Léopold II ...

lecture | conference
25 Jul 2019
According to the weather forecasts, we will reach temperatures around 38°C this week. One can say it is almost starting to feel like you are in Egypt!

24 Jul 2019
On Friday September 13, 2019, P&P-member dr. Jan Vandersmissen will give a lecture at the 1st Conference of ​the International Academy of the History of Science: Science in different cultures and civilizations - Towards a transcultural history of knowledge.

lecture | conference
1 Jul 2019
Another position just opened up in the research project “Pyramids and Progress: Belgian expansionism and the making of Egyptology, 1830-1952”, this time at ULB (Brussels). We need a documentalist! The deadline for application is 31/07/2019 and all details can be found in the following link. Don't ...

27 Jun 2019
Last week, P&P-member Vincent Oeters presented his research at the Current Research in Egyptology 2019 conference at theUniversity of Alcalá with a lecture titled 'Networking at its best: Interpersonalrelationships between Jean Capartand his colleagues abroad'. Great to see our research reach an ...

lecture | conference
22 Jun 2019
Long before Belgian imperialism reached central Africa, the Belgian Royal Palace was already interested in the continent during the reign of Leopold I.

18 Jun 2019
On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, dr. Jan Vandersmissen will represent Pyramids & Progress at "Le Canal de Suez vu de Trieste et de Bruxelles" (The Suez Canal seen from Triëste and Brussels). His lecture will be titled "Le prince Léopold de Belgique ...

lecture | conference
17 Jun 2019
Cairo. February 24, 1929. While local merchants of all kinds and trades were putting up their shops, Belgian Egyptologist Jean Capart entered one of Cairo’s many antiquity shops. In contrast to present-day tourists who usually head back home with sets of mass-produced mini Tutankhamun busts, Capart ...

13 May 2019
On 13 March P&P member prof. dr. Eugène Warmenbol of Université libre de Bruxelles kicked off the Verhaegen Chair Lecture Series with his inaugural lecture ‘Egypt and Freemasonry. Overlooked aspects of the Egyptian Campaign of Napoleon Bonaparte’ (original title: ' L'Égypte et la Franc-Maçonnerie ...

lecture | conference
13 Mar 2019
Pyramids & Progres is now online!

8 Mar 2019
On the first English-language symposium on the History of Mediterranean Archaeology in the Low Countries, to be held 8 March 2019 at the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden (the Netherlands), our PhD-student Vincent Oeters will present a paper titled: "From insignificant to ‚the capital’ ...

lecture | conference
6 Mar 2019
New exhibition at the Villa Empain in Brussels! The Boghossian Foundation highlights Heliopolis, birthplace of a new city built entirely from scratch by the Belgian industrialist Edouard Empain at the dawn of the twentieth century. Now a part of the vast Egyptian capital, Heliopolis was born of a ...

21 Feb 2019
At the 46th annual Flemish-Dutch Egyptologists Day, on 27 October 2018, P&P-team members Athena Van der Perre and Marleen De Meyer presented "Pyramids and Progress" to a curious audience of Belgian and Dutch Egyptologists. Next to their presentation of the background and mission of the project, they ...

lecture | conference
9 Feb 2019