Brussels tunnels: the mice are off the hook

Summary

The dust has settled on media reports that mice had eaten the plans for Brussels' tunnels. So what's the real story?

Of mice and men

Here was the news one day last week: The technical archives relating to the construction of the Brussels tunnels have gone missing, probably eaten by mice, according to someone from Brussel Mobiliteit, speaking to the new special committee on the renovation and maintenance of the capital’s crumbling tunnels.

The story was rapidly picked up by the international media, thanks to Reuters. And who could blame them.

How did the mice get at the archives? Well, because they were being stored inside pillars holding up a flyover in Schaarbeek. The tunnel service’s office in those days was in a hotel where there was no space to store documents. So they were stored inside a bridge. Then moved later, twice.

And the mice? The next day, the case became somewhat clearer. The expression “eaten by mice” was only “a figure of speech,” explained Brussel Mobiliteit spokesperson Inge Paemen. The technical installation near the flyover where the archives were eventually moved was not designed for archive storage, and some of it succumbed to the unsuitable conditions. Another part was destroyed by water damage at the new location in the North Station area.

A large chunk of the archives are gone, whatever happened. The mice, however, are off the hook. 

Photo: Ingimage