The Royal Academy of Science, Letters and Fine Arts of Belgium (French: Académie royale des sciences, des lettres et des beaux-arts de Belgique, sometimes referred to as La Thérésienne) is the independent learned society of science and arts of the French Community of Belgium. One of Belgium's numerous academies, it is the French-speaking counterpart of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts. In 2001 both academies founded a joint association for the purpose of promoting science and arts on an international level: The Royal Academies for Science and the Arts of Belgium (RASAB). All three institutions are located in the same building, the Academy Palace in Brussels.
A preexisting literary society was founded in 1769 under the auspices of Karl von Cobenzl, then plenipotentiary of the Austrian Netherlands under Empress Maria Theresa. In 1772 Cobenzl's successor Georg Adam, Prince of Starhemberg continued the efforts of his predecessor by expanding the society to a scientific academy. This academy was granted the right to bear the title of Imperial and Royal Academy of Science and Letters of Brussels by Empress Letters Patent dated 16 December 1772. The Sovereign instructed the academics to animate the intellectual life of the country and to stimulate and coordinate scientific research in a wide variety of fields.
This institution did not survive the occupation by the French of the Austrian Netherlands and the Academy held its last plenary session on 21 May 1794.
William I, King of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands since 1815, reinstituted the academy by Royal Decree of 17 May 1816 on the title of Royal Academy of Sciences and Letters (in Dutch: Koninklijke Academie voor Wetenschappen en Letterkunde). Work was restarted with 8 remaining academics associated with other Dutch and Belgian fellow-members. Its legal personality is recognised by the law of 2 August 1924.
After the 1830 Belgian Revolution, the Academy found its permanent place in the social order and on 1 December 1845 Leopold I of Belgium named it Académie royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique. He set up three classes: science, letters and fine arts with each 30 members from Belgian nationality. Confirm Art. 2 the King is Royal Patron, and bestows membership. 
- Founding members: Nicaise de Keyser, Eugène Simonis, Louis Gallait, Jan August Hendrik Leys, Jean-Baptiste Madou, François-Joseph Navez, Henri van der Haert, Eugène Joseph Verboeckhoven, Gustaf Wappers, Guillaume Geefs, Joseph-Pierre Braemt, Tilman-François Suys, Louis Roelandt, Charles Auguste de Bériot, François-Joseph Fétis, Théodore-Gérard Hanssen and Henri Vieuxtemps.
In 1938, the Koninklijke Academie voor Wetenschappen, Letteren en Schone Kunsten van België was created as an independent solely Dutch-speaking Flemish academy while the Royal Academy of Belgium remained a bilingual institution hosting members both from the north and from the south of the country. The bilingual status of the Royal Academy however caused difficulties over the course of the years which ultimately were resolved in 1971 by splitting the Royal Academy into an independent solely Dutch-speaking entity and an independent solely French-speaking entity. The law of 1 July 1971 put both academies in linguistic equality: henceforth their own lingua franca is used (respectively the French and the Dutch) and they bear the same denomination. In 1999 the Dutch-speaking academy changed its name into Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts (in Dutch Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie van België voor Wetenschappen en Kunsten.
Organization and members
The academy is divided into four major classes and assemblies are held monthly:
- Class of Sciences: mathematical, physical, chemical, biological, geological sciences and related disciplines;
- Class of Letters and moral and political sciences: history, archeology, letters, philosophy, moral and political sciences, sociology, economy, law, psychology and economy.
- Class of Arts: painting, architecture and sculpture, music, cinematographic and audiovisual arts, performing arts, history of art, art criticism.
- Class of Technical Sciences: various engineering resulting from sciences including their impact on society.
Each class is composed of 50 members and 50 foreign members.
By a royal decree of 30 April 1876, the Palace was put at the disposition of the two existing Belgian academies, the Royal Academy of Science, Letters and Fine Arts of Belgium and the Académie royale de Médecine de Belgique (fr) founded in 1841. Three further academies came to share the space: the Académie royale de Langue et de Littérature françaises (fr), founded in 1920 by Jules Destrée; in 1938 the Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie voor Wetenschappen, Letteren en Schone Kunsten van België as independent Dutch-language academy (now the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts) and the Koninklijke Academie voor Geneeskunde van België (nl) (Dutch counterpart of Académie royale de Médecine de Belgique in French i.e. Royal Society of Medicine of Belgium) also founded in 1938.
The lead director is a permanent secretary (in French secrétaire perpétuel). Since November 2007, the secretary is Hervé Hasquin.
Prizes and awards
Since its foundation in 2001 the Royal Academy of Science, Letters and Fine Arts of Belgium has been a member of RASAB (The Royal Academies for Science and the Arts of Belgium) along with its Dutch-speaking sister-academy KVAB in order to coordinate and promote the 25 National Scientific Committees and the international activities in Belgium.
- 1773: Joseph de Crumpipen
- 1816 – 1820: Baron Guillaume de Feltz
- 1820 – 1832 : Charles-Alexandre, 3rd Prince de Gavre
- 1835: Baron Goswin de Stassart
- 1837: Baron Goswin de Stassart
- 1839: Baron Goswin de Stassart
- 1841: Baron Goswin de Stassart
- 1845: Baron Goswin de Stassart
- 1844: Baron Goswin de Stassart
- 1847: Baron Goswin de Stassart
- 1853: Baron Goswin de Stassart
- 1870: Gustave Dewalque
- 1874: Nicaise De Keyser
- 1876: Henri Alexis Brialmont
- 2010: Pierre Bartholomée
- 2016: Charles Joachain
- 2017: Monique Mund-Dopchie
A full list can be found in Index biographique des membres et associés de l'Académie royale de Belgique (1769-2005).
|Giorgio de Chirico||3.7.1958|
|Manuel de Falla||10.1.1935|
|Queen Elisabeth of Belgium||1953|
- Science and technology in Belgium
- Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage
- Culture of Belgium
- Science and technology in Flanders
- Belgian literature
- The Academy Palace Archived 2013-07-19 at the Wayback Machine, at kvab.be
- Académie royale des sciences, des lettres et des beaux-arts de Belgique (1837). Annuaire de l'Académie royale des sciences et belles-lettres de Bruxelles (in French). M. Hayez. p. 3.
- see Handelsblad (Het) 05-12-1845
- ‹See Tfd›(in Dutch) geschiedenis (history), at kvab.be
- "Académie royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique" (in French). Retrieved 22 March 2014.
- "Academy Statute". Retrieved 22 March 2014.
- "The National Committees". The Royal Academies for Science and the Arts of Belgium. Archived from the original on 23 March 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2014.