The Chinese Pavilion was commissioned by King Leopold II in 1901, as a restaurant for businessmen seeking to foster economic links with China. When he died in 1909, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs took over responsibility for the Pavilion. It opened in 1913, not as a restaurant but as a museum. The exterior panels were sculpted in Shanghai. The French architect – Alexandre Marcel – also built the ‘Japanese tower’ across the road.
This postcard showing the “Chinese Restaurant” is dated 30 March 1915. It was sent by a German soldier during the Great War to his family in Stuttgart.