The afternoon of 20 August 1914. The troops of the occupier are aligning on the Grand Place. Brussels was seized by the German army, and the latter intended to make its presence clear. The German flag was soon flying on the facade of the Hotel de Ville. The Belgian and the Brussels flags were nevertheless maintained, thanks to the mayor's insistence.
That very day, the soldiers of the Reich took control of the iconic sites of the capital. Sentinels came to stand in front of the Chamber, while different ministries were invested. The troops were lodged in the Bourse or in public buildings like the Palais de Justice. Other units were accommodated in private houses, when they were not bivouacking on the boulevards. As Paul Max noted the day after the fall of Brussels: “We have, in short, a German garrison.”