Did you know ...? #19

Did you know that Cockerill built the Lion of Waterloo? 

The history of Cockerill is dotted with realizations which demonstrate to what degree this two hundred year old industry has been part of our history. The famous lion which dominates the knoll at Waterloo, for example, comes from the Cockerill workshops.

In 1820, King William of Orange decides to erect a monument to perpetuate the national glory of the Netherlands, which are commemorating victory over the troops of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815. Following a competition between several artists, the project by Charles Van der Straeten is selected. A 40 metre high knoll is erected at the point where it is assumed that the Prince of Orange, the future William II of the Netherlands, was wounded in the shoulder at the end of the battle.

Using moulds made by Mechelen sculptor Louis van Geel (Mechelen 1787 – Brussels 1852), from  1823 the Seraing establishments cast the nine bronze parts which make up the lion. The total weight of this work is 28 tonnes. The lion measures 4.50 metres long by 4.45 metres high. In 1826, the finished work is transported to Waterloo. It was raised up and positioned on its pedestal at the top of the knoll in the evening of Saturday 28th October. The lion of Waterloo symbolises the victory and the new United Kingdom of the Netherlands. The open mouth of the lion is oriented towards defeated France and its foot rests on the globe announcing ‘the peace that Europe conquered on the plains of Waterloo’.