In the Belgian footsteps of Karl Marx, born 200 years ago


On 5 May 2018, Karl Marx would have been 200 years old. He visited Brussels in 1845, and stayed there until 1848. They were three extremely important and productive years, as it was during this time that he developed the foundations of his philosophy of dialectical materialism with Friedrich Engels, and he wrote his major political work "The Communist Manifesto".

Karl Marx arrived in Belgium in 1845. Having been driven from Germany and France due to his overly revolutionary ideas, he found refuge in Brussels. Marx was convinced he would not be imprisoned in Belgium. At the time, the fledgling country of Belgium had one of the most progressive constitutions of the age, with a strict division of powers, and genuine press freedom, and freedom of association. Belgium appeared as a sanctuary for all supposed revolutionaries: Victor Hugo, Charles Baudelaire and many others found refuge in our country.

The book "Marx in Brussels", published in 2005 by the historian Edward de Maesschalck, accurately retraces the footsteps of the famous revolutionary in Belgium. We learn that Marx lived with his wife and three children in five different places in Brussels. Unfortunately, most of these hotels and houses no longer exist. However, in Ixelles, there is still a commemorative plaque on his former home at 50, Rue Jean d'Ardennes, where he almost certainly wrote the Communist Manifesto.