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Jan Palach Memorial Day in Brussels

On 16 January 2022, the Czech Ambassador to Belgium Pavel Klucký and the Czech Permanent Representative to NATO Ambassador Jakub Landovský laid flowers at the Jan Palach Memorial in Brussels to commemorate 16 January 1969, when Jan Palach, then only a 20-year-old student at Charles University, set himself on fire in protest against the communist regime.

The memorial was unveiled in the Brussels district of Woluwe-St-Pierre on 16 January 2001, exactly 32 years after Jan Palach's self-immolation on Wenceslas Square in Prague. "Jan Palach did not want his fellow citizens to accept the Soviet yoke, the steamroller of normalisation," said Mayor Jacques Vandenhaute in a short speech at the time. "The act that brought Palach's death had a huge resonance among the population." Jacques Vandenhaute described the erection of the monument as "a reminder that the meaning of Jan Palach's human sacrifice was freedom; Palach thus became an important symbol for our youth."

Palach's bust of Slivenec marble is placed on a high pedestal surrounded by wrought flame symbols. Academic sculptor František Janda donated it to the Czech Embassy in Belgium on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the burning of Jan Palach in order to find a worthy location. Due to the long-standing cooperation between the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Brussels and the Woluwe-Saint-Pierre town hall, the Woluwe-Saint-Pierre district of Brussels was chosen as the location for the bust. The statue is located near the Chant d'Oiseau bus stop at the interface of Parvis des Franciscains and avenue de l'Atlantique, and the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Brussels holds an annual commemoration of Jan Palach here.