BEAUTIFUL BELGIAN VILLAGE
APRIL 11, 1963
GROUNDBREAKING AT THE NEW YORK WORLD'S FAIR 1964-1965
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Remarks by Belgian and World's Fair officials
at the Belgian Village groundbreaking cere-
monies, New York World's Fair, Thursday,
April 11, 1963.
AMBASSADOR RICHARD C. PATTERSON, JR.
[Chief of Protocol]: Mr. Moses, distinguished guests,
ladies and gentlemen. I am privileged to begin these
ceremonies by presenting a man who is an expert on
trade fairs and international fairs and has spent most of
his time in the planning and development of expositions.
I am happy to introduce to you my colleague, Mr. Allen
MR. ALLEN BEACH [Director, International Ex-
hibits] : Thank you Ambassador Patterson. Mr. De Rijdt,
Mr. Vande-Velde and Mr. Moses. Governor Poletti, who
is again abroad in behalf of the Fair, asked me to convey
his congratulations to Mr. De Rijdt and Mr. Vande-Velde
and all those who worked to bring the Belgian Village to
reality. I would like to add that you, Mr. De Rijdt, and
your associates, have come a long way over a rather
bumpy road since the first day we met in New York early
in 1961 to discuss a Belgian Village at the Fair.
I am sure Mr. Gates Davison of our International Divi-
sion staff, who has worked most closely with you, will
agree when I say that if bulldog tenacity is a virtue,
you, Mr. De Rijdt, are a very virtuous man. We both
admire you for your persistence and faith in the face of
many problems and for your desire to present your gay
Belgian Village to millions of visitors. Your determina-
tion is evident today, as construction starts on this 164,-
000 sq. ft. site.
We are all delighted that this village will be in our
midst; I am especially delighted because I witnessed the
Cover: Artist's interpretation of section of Belgian Village super-
imposed on a detail of Architect Alfons De Rijdt's blueprint.
Officiating at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Belgian Village: (left to right)
Robert Moses, Fair president; Gates Davison, of the Fair's International staff;
Gerard Vande-Velde, associate pavilion designer and Alfons De Rijdt, designer.
11963 New York World's Foir 1964-1965 Corporation
tremendous success of the "Belgique Joyeuse" designed
by Mr. De Rijdt for the Brussels World's Fair of 1958
when I was deputy director of the U. S. Building and
Exhibits. I recall many a happy hour spent in the "Bel-
gique Joyeuse," enjoying food and drink, colorful shops,
dancers and music. "Belgique Joyeuse" was a gathering
place for those who wished to fall completely into the
spell of the gayety and fun of old-time Belgium. Next year
on this site we will see an even greater Belgian Village,
created by the original designer, Alfons De Rijdt and his
associate Mr. Gerard Vande-Velde. Be assured that I will
be among the thousands present on opening day to drink
a glass of Belgian beer and eat a bag of pommes frites.
AMBASSADOR PATTERSON: Thank you Mr.
Beach. May I add that Mr. De Rijdt also built the Belgian
Village which was a prime attraction at the Chicago
World's Fair in 1933. His building at the Brussels' Fair
in 1958, by all accounts, was the gayest and most popular
of that remarkable exposition. The Belgian Village he
has planned for our New York World's Fair in 1964-
1965, will be, I am told, one of the largest and most
beautiful of our international presentations, with no less
than 120 dwellings, including a church and a town hall.
The New York World's Fair is delighted that Mr.
De Rijdt, Mr. Vande-Velde and others have brought their
talents to this Fair. I have the great privilege of present-
ing to you, Mr. Alfons De Rijdt, president of the Bel-
MR. ALFONS DE RIJDT: Mr. Moses, Excellencies,
ladies and gentlemen. I want to thank you — all of you
— American and Belgian, for making this occasion pos-
sible. Without the outstanding cooperation of the Fair
authorities our village would still be a dream, and with-
out the help of the Belgian authorities it would be an
empty dream. We shall create a miniature Belgium in
Flushing Meadow Park. Visitors will see buildings they
have seen in Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Liege, Mons,
Bastogne and other cities. We hope our friends will like
us more through visiting the Belgian Village, and we
hope those who don't know Belgium will come to visit
her. We will offer fun, music, entertainment and fine
foods, and you will see the work of Belgium's finest
artisans. We will devote part of the village to Belgian
industry — for our small country is an industrial giant.
We will show you all the best that we have. We know
you will like it. Thank you.
AMBASSADOR PATTERSON: Thank you very
I Blueprint detail of Belgian Village, Alfons De Rijdt, architect.
much, Mr. De Rijdt. The final speaker, ladies and gentle-
men, is the man under whose watchful guidance thou-
sands of men will continue to work for some time to
complete this greatest of all fairs. His task requires in-
finite knowledge, which he has, with a superb ability to
get things done. I have the privilege of presenting to you
the chief executive of the World's Fair, 1964-1965, the
Honorable Robert Moses.
ROBERT MOSES: Ambassador Patterson, Mr.
De Rijdt, and friends. I little thought, back in 1939 and
1940, that I would be back here again with my former
associates at another World's Fair. One reason we are so
confident of getting the Fair finished on schedule is that
these same people who worked for the earlier fair,
through the years 1937 and 1938 — and know all about
the grounds and topography, what's below the surface
and above it — are with us again to carry on the program.
I like this Belgian Village because, in addition to rep-
resenting the products of the country and its culture, it
will also provide a good deal of play and amusement
which we need in the Fair. It's always a happy thing to
be dealing with professionals who know the problems
and the time necessary to solve them. In this case, we are
dealing with real experts.
Alfons De Rijdt thanks Robert Moses, Fair president, for a souvenir medal of the Fair. In turn, ^
he presents Mr. Moses with a token of his gratitude. Gates Davison, of the Fair staff, looks on. v
BEAUTIFUL BELGIUM, INC.
ALFONS DE RIJDT, President and Architect, Beautiful Belgium, Inc.
GERARD VANDE-VELDE, Vice President, Beautiful Belgium, Inc.
Flushing 52, N.Y.
WORLD'S FAIR 1964-1965 CORPORATION
Tel. 212-WF 4--1964
ROBERT MOSES, President
THOMAS J. DEEGAN, JR., Chairman of the Executive Committee
WILLIAM E. POTTER, Executive Vice President
CHARLES POLETTI, Vice President, International Affairs and Exhibits
STUART CONSTABLE, Vice President, Operations
WILLIAM BERNS, Vice President, Communications and Public Relations
ERWIN WITT, Comptroller
MARTIN STONE, Director of Industrial Section
GUY F. TOZZOLI, (Port of New York Authority) Transportation Section
ERNESTINE R. HAIG, Secretary of the Corporation and
Assistant to the President
WILLIAM WHIPPLE, JR., Chief Engineer