Showing posts with the label Brussels

The house of the European Commission in Brussels

The Berlaymont building is an important government building in Brussels. It is the headquarters of the European Commission. The building is on the corner of two main streets in Brussels, Wetstraat and Schumanplein. It is surrounded by various European and international services. The part of the city in which the building is located is called the European Quarter, which is why Brussels is internationally regarded as the capital of Europe.

The place of the building was originally occupied by the Monastery of Berlaymont. They managed a well-known girls' school, originally founded by Florent van Berlaymont's wife. That is where the name of the current building comes from. In the early 1960s, the Belgian state bought the domain to anchor the European presence in Brussels.

Architect Lucien De Vestel designed the original building together with Jean Gilson, Jean Polak, and André Polak. It consists of a tower in the shape of a cross, through which four wings depart from a central hub…

Brussels by night

You might think that Brussels these days is a highly political city, but there is also no shortage of entertainment and free time options in Brussels. You can try the Belgian and Brussels beers in a typical café or staminee, like they call them. But Brussels also has a large selection of international bars and exclusive clubs.

The favorite pastime of the Belgian is 'go for a beer' with friends in the café around the corner. If the weather is good, this will be 'doing a terrace'. So you will have no trouble finding a cafe in Brussels. Every cafe has its own style and atmosphere. The choice is yours and the beer choice is huge.
If you want to take a few dance steps afterwards, Brussels has more than enough discotheques with different types of music and the hippest DJs. Do you know how to appreciate live music? Then you can go to one of the clubs where concerts are regularly scheduled. Techno fans will find what they are looking for in the Fuse, Zodiak and C12, hip-hop l…

The Devil’s own cafe in Brussels.

Le Cercueil (the coffin), the name of the place says all. Its is not a café filled with zombies where the atmosphere is dead. Its a place where you will sit at a real coffin. Placing your glass on the table is done under the all-seeing eye of the corpse beneath it and the cavities in the skull, where the eyes once were, watch you drink your glass.

Those glasses, which are available in the standard café shapes, but those who really want to enjoy the unique atmosphere in Le Cercueil, require a "crane" after which your refreshment is served in a skull. The entire place looks microscopically small and with room for perhaps 30 people all together. In fact it looks more like a tomb than a traditional café and you are immediately sucked into a devilish  atmosphere.

Places like Le Cercueil may have survived the test of time, they must also follow the trend if they are to survive in our consumer society. The menu was therefore supplemented, from a large selection of well-known (and …

Delvaux, the first luxury leather house in the world

The Delvaux house and store was founded in Brussels in 1829 by Charles Delvaux and has been at the forefront of luxury leather goods for almost two centuries now.

Thanks to its high quality, its uncompromising craftsmanship and the outstanding quality of its creations the bags of Delvaux are world famous fashion creations.
The first luxury leather house in the world is one like no other.  In the hands of highly skilled leather workers, the bags become true masterpieces.

Delvaux bags are made from supple and durable calf leather sourced from tanneries in France and Italy. Delvaux is also renowned for its exotic leathers such as alligator, crocodile, python, lizard and ostrich. Each bag is made entirely by hand and worked on, from start to finish, Soaked in Belgian surrealism, La Maison Delvaux interprets all its creations in a witty way by injecting each design with an unusual and unique style.
Today Delvaux is a proud and pure Belgian brand that you can find from Brussels to Hong Kon…

The Stoclet palace

The most perfect work of austrian architect 'Josef Hoffmann' is in the town of Sint-Pieters-Woluwe in the municipality of Brussels. The Stoclet Palace was built between 1905 and 1911 on behalf of the wealthy businessman Adolphe Stoclet. Because the budget was unrestricted, it is a magnificent building, both from the outside and inside.

The tower and facades made in smooth marble have a limited number of wall openings facing the street side, making the building look strict and closed. Nevertheless, the aesthetically highly refined interior spaces enjoy the light of the south side and additionally look at the carefully designed garden.

The most expensive building materials were used to make all dreams come true. Due to the fact that various artists like 'Fernand Khnopff' and 'Gustac Klimt' have interfered with even the smallest details, the Stoclet palace is still today a mastery in architecture and art. Since 2009, the Stoclet Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage …

The Hallepoort of Brussels

The Hallepoort is a former city gate in Brussels. It was built in 1381 and is the only Brussels city gate that has been preserved. It is also the last part of the former second city wall of Brussels that has been preserved.

The military function of the Hallepoort was abolished in 1564, after which the gate received several new destinations. The building was used as a grain-lender, Lutheran church, prison and city archive. The neo gothic facade and the high roofs, added by architect Henry Beyaert in the 19th century, do not detract from the luxury of the medieval halls on the inside of the building. At the top of the lookout tower, you can enjoy an impressive panorama of Brussels and its surroundings.

A nearby metro station is named after the gate, the Hallepoort subway station. The Hallepoort is surrounded by a park also bearing the name of the gate. Today, the building  serves as a museum. The gate is located at the end of the Hoogstraat and at the beginning of the Waterloosesteenwe…

The congressional column in Brussels

The congressional column in Brussels was built between 1850 and 1859 on plans by architect Joseph Poelaert who got inspired the Trajan's Column in Rome.
The column commemorates the 1830 National Congress, which ratified the Belgian Constitution. The 45-meter-high column includes allegories depicting the essential freedoms of the hen nine (now ten) provinces of the Belgian nation. Above the column is a statue of King Leopold I manufactured by Guillaume Geefs. The reliefs and sculptures at the bottom of the column are handed by Eugène Simonis.

On November 11, 1922, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was solemnly opened. It is built inside the foot of the Column. The grave remembers the victims of the First World War with the remains of one 'unknown' soldier. In front  of the grave there is a everlasting burning flame.
You can find the congressional column at this address:  Congresplaats, Brussels.

The Saint Jacob-on-Coudenberg church in Brussels

Archbishop Charles of Lorraine, governor of the Netherlands and brother-in-law of Empress Maria-Theresia of Austria, had ordered to build a church on top of the Coudenberg in Brussels. The church was later called the Saint Jacob-on-Coudenberg. French architects Guimard and Montoyer were commissioned to design the neoclassical building.  The Archbishop laid the first stone in 1776. The church was finished in 1787. The King's square was later build around it.

The front of the building is preceded by an imposing Greek-Roman colonnade with six Corinthian columns crowned by a triangular fronton. The neoclassicist interior with brickwork and heavy Corinthian columns includes oak-shaped chandeliers in Regency style, a wrought iron fence in Louis XV style and a neoclassical organ of Pierre Schyven dating back to 1884.
You can find the church at this address: Koningsplein 1, Brussels

The Coudenberg Palace in Brussels

Once upon a time Brussels was dominated by the huge Coudenberg Palace. It was the palace of Emperor Charles and the crumb of the European nobility between the twelfth and eighteenth century. The palace got its name of the fact that it's build on the Coudenberg itself, one of the slopes of Brussels.

It was a enormous palace, until fate struck and a fire destroyed the beautiful building. However, many remains remained intact and disappeared below the ground. Now it's an enchanting archaeological site, a network of vaulted corridors, halls and hidden rooms.

During a visit you will discover the main buildings of the palace and flatter through the Isabella Street, which is now underground! In the museum of the Coudenberg, which is housed in the upper court of Hoogstraeten, you can admire the most beautiful archaeological objects discovered during the various excavation works on the Coudenberg site. 

You can find the ruins and museum of the Coudenberg palace at this address:  Palei…

Bozar Brussels

The building is designed by art deco architect Victor Horta and dates back to 1928. Horta was severely restricted in his design because there was only a limited and irregular building space of 80 acres. The result was a building with eight different levels and many underground spaces.

With more than a million visitors a year, the Bozar is one of the beacons of the Brussels 'Mont Des Art ' district. The 'Palace' is located between the 'Koningsplein' and the Central Station and creates a link between the Brussels lower part the the upper  city center.

Now Bozar is the art temple of Brussels. you can enjoy a very varied and extensive range of music, dance, film and visual art. The showpiece of the building is the Henry Leboeuf Hall, which can host 2,200 people in an original art deco style theater.

You can find the Bozar at this address: Ravensteinstraat 23, Brussels. More information about future events visit the website: Bozar

The bones of Bernissart

In April 1878, miners in Bernissart, a Walloon village in the former Borinage coalfield mines, found a huge amount of dinosaur bones in a 322 meter deep clay layer of the mine.
After the miners in Bernissart made their findings known, a group of paleontologists went to the mine to find more fossil remains of the iguanodons. Finally, they found thirty skeletons, ten of which were still completely intact.

Due to the fact that the bones were still in place in their likely natural position and were preserved very well in the clay, the scientists could quickly make an anatomy of the iguanodon skeletons. Not much later a first setup of a standing iguanodon could be made to show the world.
Today, a 300 m² and three storey high glass cage protects this Belgian national heritage. This allows visitors to admire each of these pearls optimally. In addition, they are able to go to the basement of the museum to see in what circumstances the skeletons were found.

You can visit the Bernissart iguano…

Nemo 33 a very deep swimming pool

Nemo 33 is an indoor diving pool facility in Ukkel, Brussels. It held the record as the deepest indoor swimming pool in the world between its opening on May 1, 2004 and the completion of Y-40 in Montegrotto Terme, Padua, Italy on June 5, 2014. The pool's maximum depth is 34.5 metres. It contains 2,500,000 litres of non-chlorinated,highly filtered spring water maintained at a temperature of 30 °C. To do so it uses a highly sophisticated solar powered heater.

The diving pool holds several simulated underwater caves at the 10 metres depth level. Due to the warm temperature in the pool, divers can dive for extended periods without having to use a dry suit. The complex was designed by Belgian diving expert 'John Nuttyheart' as a multi-purpose diving instruction, recreational and film production facility.

The complex also has a shop and a restaurant, you can find it at this address: Stallestraat 333, Brussels.

The little peeing boy

On the corner of the 'Stoofstraat' and the 'Eikstraat' in Brussels you can find this always cheerful peeing little boy, in a statue that is. It's been there since 1619, but nobody really seems to know where he is coming from. The history of the boy goes back even further. Until 1451, the date of the oldest mention of the existence of the fountain.

So the boy has been the symbol of the shameless Brusselsians for centuries, they don't mind that the boy is peeing 24 hours a day, in fact they are really proud of him. Tourist however can have a different view, going from total hilarity to being shocked. One thing is sure, everybody wants a picture or selfie with Brussels most famous naturist. 'Manneken Pis' that's what the boy is called, meaning, you might have guessed it, 'Little Peeing Boy'

The boy is not always totally naked, since 1698 he has been dressed up with all kinds of uniforms. Today he even has his own costume museum.

The park of Brussels

The park of Brussels runs from the Royal Palace all the way up to the Parliament building. The park was once the 'Warande' of the 'Dukes of Brabant' alongside their castle. A 'Warande' was in the Middle Ages a closed park that was used for hunting.

When the Palace burned down in 1731, the park got an other destination and was redesigned  as a walking park. The lanes, flower beds and the fountain are lined up in a geometric French garden architecture style, including the mythological and Roman statues.

Today the park is mostly used by the civil servants of which Brussel has many. They use it as a shortcut to get to their offices or to take a short afternoon break. Or they even use it to eat their lunch on one of the park benches. The park is also ideal for jogging and running.  and of course taking the dog out for a walk.

The Martyrs square in Brussels

The 'Martelarenplein' or in French 'Place des Martyrs' meaning 'Martyrs Square' is one of the classicism style squares that were built in Brussels during Belgium's Austrian Occupation. Today the very stately square and the building around it  is the home of the Flemish government.

Around 1775 the governor of the Austrian Netherlands ordered to build two square in Brussels, one was the 'King's square' and the other one was the 'Saint Michael Square'. The governor who lived in the city at that time wanted them to be in a classicism style, just like the French palace style. The square was designed by architect Claude Fisco. The name of the 'Saint Michael Square' was changed after the Belgian independence into the 'Martyrs Square' to honour the victims of the Belgian revolution.
In the center of the square there is a resplendent monument, underneath in a crypt, the bodies of the Martyrs who died during the revolution are bur…

The daily flea market of Brussels

The daily flea market in Brussels is located in the 'Marollen', the most typical folksy district of the city. Here the people still speak the original Brussels dialect language, a strong Flemish (Dutch) accent with a lot of French words in it.

The flea market at the 'vossenplein' is like the people who organise it and live in the neighbourhood: Shabby, simple and one-fold. You can find almost anything here, however you could something wonder where they are getting it all from. Scrolling down the cardboard boxes, tables and blankets can be very interesting sometimes, you never know what you can come across and it could be very cheap to buy it.

The market has a long history and dates back to 1873. It is organised daily from the early morning till noon. Looking for that old atlas of America? That record of Michael Jackson? Come on over, the 'Marollen' will welcome you.
You can find the flea market at this address: Vossenplein, Brussels.  

The museum of the far East in Brussels

The Chinese pavilion, the Japanese tower en the museum for Japanese art together form the 'Museum of the far East' in Brussels. They highlight  the intense cooperation between Europe and the far East in the beginning of the 20th century.

The buildings were built between 1905 and 1910, making them one of the first realizations of King Leopold II. The king realized that good contacts with countries in the far East were very imported for the country itself. However the buildings only have some Eastern decorative elements, the rest was designed by Belgian architects and was completely manufactured in Belgium. So they are not really Japanese or Chinese buildings. Their only purpose was to strengthen the contacts between the countries. and set up traveling routes.

Today the exclusive collections are the main attraction of the museum, dating back to the 17th century. The Japanese tower focuses on the Japanese art production and the Chinese pavilion focuses more on the Chinese art hi…

The Notre-Dame du Sablon church in Brussels

Originally this flamboyant building was the chapel of the crossbow shooter guild. According to a legend, the devoted spinster 'Beatrijs Soetkens' would have brought a statue of the Virgin Mary from Antwerp to Brussels in 1348 to donate it to the crossbow shooters guild. another story tells that the statue was stolen and brought to Brussels by boat. Around 1400 the chapel became a popular pilgrimage so it was expanded to serve as a church. In 1550 the new church was completed. But it was manly the statue of the virgin Mary that gave the church its popularity. It is also the origin of the 'Ommegang', a historic procession in Brussels.

Particularly in the church are the slender chorus and the high windows. Note that church has no actual tower. Furthermore, there are many artworks to be admired. There is for example the baroque pulpit dating back to 1697 and a restored Goynaut organ. The church also houses some grave monuments and some anonymous 16th and 17th century pain…

The house of European history in Brussels

The new museum is a place to ask, talk and think about the history and future of Europe and the European Union. The museum takes you on a journey through European history, along myths and discoveries to the chaos and cohesion of the twentieth century.
The European History House is located in the beautifully renovated Eastman building in the Brussels Leopold Park. The collection can be seen and experienced in all 24 official languages ​​of the European Union. Access to the museum is free. The museum also offers tours and programs tailor-made to give everyone a fascinating experience. Welcome to Europe!

You can find the house of European history at this address: Rue Belliard / Belliardstraat 135, Brussels.

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The Jubel or Cinquantenaire park in Brussels

The park was commissioned by King Leopold II to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Belgian independence in 1880. In 1888 and 1897 the world exhibition was held here.

The most striking building in the park is the triumphal arch, which was completed in 1905. The first appointed architect to design the building was architect Gédéon Bordiau. After his death, the king appointed the French architect Charles Girault to complete it. The building consists of three equal arches with above the middle arch a bronze image representing the province of Brabant on a chariot, drawn by four horses. At the foot of the triumphal arch, there are a total of eight statues that represent the other provinces on either side. Belgium had 9 provinces when the triumphal arch was built, later a tenth one was added by dividing the province of Brabant into two provinces, a Flemish and a Walloon one.

The park houses 3 museums: The Jubelpark Museum, the Royal Museum of the Army and its Military History and the…