The Royal Palace of Brussels

The work palace of the Belgian Royal family is built on the foundations of the Court of the Dukes of Brabant that was destroyed by a fire in 1731. The construction started in 1820 under the reign of at that time Dutch King William I. The construction was done with a lot of problems and different architects were assigned to finish the massive construction. With the independence of Belgium in 1830, the first King of Belgium, Leopold I toke over the palace and had some adjustments made.  In 1904, other adjustments were made under Leopold II, this time in Louis XVI style. The wings are dating back to the 18th century and are flanked at the end by two pavilions. As an example, the Royal Palace of Brussels is alot bigger than Buckingham Palace in London., it has 21 big halls, all dedicated to a certain theme. There are also a lot of other smaller rooms divided over the 4 floors.

During state visits, this palace is made available to the visiting heads of state to spend the night there. Ambassadors are also welcomed here, New Year receptions are held, wedding banquets are organized and after his death, the monarch is laid out in the Salon of the Thinker.

When the monarch is in the country, the Belgian flag is hoisted on the middle pavilion. If he is present in the palace, the guard of honor is at the front.

Picture by Pixabay
The Royal Palace, is not the place where the King and his family live. He has, among others, another Palace situated in the north of Brussels, in Laeken. However, all Palaces and grounds are owed by the Belgian state and not by the Royal family itself.

You can find the Royal palace at this address:  Brederodestraat 16, Brussels. Once a year the palace is open to the public.

The market square of Bruges

Politically Bruges was run from de Brug. The economical trade however was done from the market square. The city was the trade city for the whole region. The market square was and still is the beating heart of the city.

Till the 18th century ships came through the canal to the city square and moored at the East side of it. At the Waterhalle the ship's were docked and handled. In 1787 the canal was covered and the Waterhalle had to make way for three neogotic houses. The houses have the typical Flemish facades and were used as guild houses.

Central on the square is the statue of Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck, the two leaders of the resistance against the French occupation. They were also responsible for the battle of the gulden sporen slag and defeated the French troops on July 11 1302, proofing the strong power of the Flemish people.

Searching for utopia in Namur

The 'Searching for utopia' artwork of artist Jan Fabre was adopted by the inhabitants of Namur after his ‘Facing Time Rops/Fabre’ exhibition in 2015. The city, some private donors together with a fund raising by the inhabitants of the city, paid 500.000 euros for it. The bronze turtle with an discovering man on its back weighs 6,500 kilograms is seven meters long and five meters wide. It is looking  out over the city and ready to take of at any time. Tourists can enjoy it during their visit to the historical Citadel of the city.

Picture by Pixabay

'The Turtle', as everyone calls it, has become an attraction, a place for encounters and a strong symbol of the city. The artwork is a original copy of the one that was built in the city of 'Nieuwpoort', at the Belgian coast.