High Flying Research in The Royal Palace!



The model of the Canopy glider in the Throne Room.  (photo: Isabelle Du Four - RBINS)
High Flying Research in The Royal Palace!
post by
Jonas Van Boxel

Two of our research projects – the Peregrine falcons from Falcons for Everyone and the spectacular ant studies with balloons in the canopy of the rainforest – are on display in the beautiful Throne Room of the Brussels Royal Palace.

The changing aspects of the sky have always fascinated humans. Its beauty and immensity are an inspiration for artists and spark the curiosity of scientists. That is why the ten Federal Scientific Institutes and the National Geographic Institute (NGI) exhibit their most fascinating sky-related items in the Royal Palace, during the summer event “Science and Culture at the Palais Royal”.

Visit “HEAVEN!”, an exhibition with diverse pieces from the worlds of art, science and history. Our Institute presents two research projects, side by side great items like an Egyptian coffin with the sky goddess Nut, surprising pictures of the universe taken with the Gaia telescope and strange meteorological measurement instruments of the KMI-IRM.

Falcons for Everyone

Since 1994, researchers from our Institute monitor and study the changes in Peregrine falcon populations in Belgium and elsewhere. When in 2004 Peregrine falcons were observed in Brussels for the first time in decades, ornithologist Didier Vangeluwe started ‘Falcons for Everyone’, which launched in 2005. This year, the public could follow the nesting season of 3 falcon families in Brussels live, through a network of HD cameras.

In the magnificent Throne Room, you face a stuffed Peregrine falcon, in our collection since 1925.  

The Flying Biologist

Our colleague, entomologist Maurice Leponce, studies arboreal ant colonies in a spectacular fashion. With hot air and helium balloons, he floats over the treetops of the tropical forest to observe them from above.

A model of one of these special balloons floats in the palace. The Canopy glider flies on a mix of hot air and helium. With this balloon, Maurice collects samples of plants and insect at 30 meters high!


In collaboration with the Palais Royal of Brussels, the FPS Chancellery of the Prime Minister, the FPS Science Policy (BELSPO) and the Federal Scientific Institutes (FSI)

  • 22.07.2017 – 03.09.2017
  • Royal Palace (Place des palais, Brussels)
  • Opening hours 10 :30 – 16 :30
  • Closed on Mondays
  • Free entry
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