Rue Neuve: the Bon Marché is transformed into a hospital. The citizens were greatly surprised to discover that the emblem of the Red Cross would henceforth adorn the front of this well-known business, the first department store in Belgium. In a few days, more than a hundred similar hospitals would be created. Scattered across the sixteen municipalities that formed Brussels at the time, they received the wounded from the front.
Schools, museums, convents, hotels or private properties were transformed into care centres, placed under authority of the Red Cross. Makeshift hospitals were set up as far as the City Hall, the Maison du Peuple, or even the Palais de Justice. Assisting the wounded was for the civilian population a means of getting involved. As early as the first days of the war, thousands of women volunteered to participate in the national mobilization. Queen Elizabeth set the example: She opened the royal palace for the wounded at the beginning of the month of August 1914.