Brussels Cathedral has a twin in Seoul
Everyone is said to have a double somewhere on earth. But until now no one, not even the official bodies, knew that this also applied to monuments, and more precisely to the Cathedral of Saint-Michael and Saint Gudula.
So it was a great surprise when art student Wies De Vos pointed out that there was a replica of the jewel of Brussels' religious architecture in the South Korean capital, Seoul. It is located on the campus of the Kyung Hee Private University, which was founded in 1949 by the famous scientist and pacifist Dr Young Seek Choue (1921-2012). After a visit to KU Leuven and Brussels, Dr Young returned to Korea with the idea of seeing an almost identical copy of our cathedral built in his university. His idea became reality in the form of the Peace Room, a large auditorium, inaugurated to mark the university's 50th anniversary.
The similarity of the exterior view, particularly the façade, is astonishing, as are the decorative sculptures. For us, this architecture is clearly inspired by Christianity and, in Seoul, by the symbol of peace. However, the interior appearance and function are completely different. No religious services take place there, but concerts and international conferences are held in a vast theatre - the largest in Korea - with 4,500 seats.
It is surprising that none of the religious, tourist, architectural or cultural institutions interviewed was apparently aware that the Korean building existed.