Article ID: CBB709617053

Congress Mania in Brussels, 1846–1856: Soft Power, Transnational Experts, and Diplomatic Practices (2020)


In 1853, the director of the Belgium Royal Observatory, Adolphe Quetelet, welcomed delegates from several countries to two consecutive meetings that have acquired considerable reputation as the first international congresses of, respectively, meteorology and statistics. This paper examines the local context where several similar international congresses (on free trade, universal peace, prison reform, public hygiene, etc.) were organized in the same decade. It argues that the new Belgian state developed this new form of international conference in order to bolster its soft power in the Concert of Nations. It also discusses tensions between national interests and global beliefs in the efficiency of science, which arose from these congresses.This essay is part of a special issue entitled Science Diplomacy, edited by Giulia Rispoli and Simone Turchetti.

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Authors & Contributors
Donnelly, Kevin Padraic
Stamhuis, Ida H.
Hautcœur, Pierre-Cyrille
Desrosières, Alain
Bracke, Nele
Schneider, Michael C.
História, Ciências, Saúde---Manguinhos
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Histoire & Mesure
Science in Context
Comparative Studies in Society and History
Historia Mathematica
Les Presses de l'École des Mines
Ippan Zaidan Hojin Nagoya Daigaku Shuppankai
Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group
Brandeis University
University of California, Davis
Science and government
Social sciences
Science and politics
Demography; population research
Quetelet, Lambert Adolphe Jacques
Great Britain
United States
Brussels (Belgium)
19th century
20th century
20th century, early
21st century
18th century

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