THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE LAW COURTS
They were built between 1866 and 1883 by Joseph Poelaert, the same architect who designed the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Brussels. It is one of the world's largest stone buildings. The architect could not see his work completed because he died in 1879. He had the idea of placing a pyramid at the top of the building. However, the architect who finished the building decided to change the idea of Poelaert. He finally designed the current dome.
It is one of the great works of the era of Leopold II. All his buildings are characterised by a colossal neoclassical style. The reign of Leopold II coincides with the time of the colonialism of Belgium in the Belgian Congo. These buildings were used to shown the strength of the nation.They were all financed with the money that Belgium obtained from its African colony. The budget was exorbitant for that time.
THE DIMENSIONS OF THE LAW COURTS
The most impressive of this classical Greco-Roman style building is certainly its dimension. It has a surface area of 26,000 square metres, 246 rooms and 8 yards. The dome, in the main room, is more than 100 metres high. The dimensions of thisbuilding, also know as the Palace of Justice, surpass those of the Vatican Saint Peter’s Basilica. Whencompleted, it was the largest building ever built.
THE HISTORY OF THE LAW COURTS
At the end of the Second World War, when the Germans withdrew from Brussels, they set fire to the Palace in order to destroy it. As a result of the fire, the dome was destroyed, and the building was severely damaged. Towards 1947, most of the building was repaired and the dome became thinner and two meters higher than the original.
THE INTERIOR OF THE LAW COURTS
Inside, something that will draw your attention is the dimension of the building and the amount of marble used for its construction. A wasteful spending thanks to the rubber that came from the Congo.
The building consists of two floors and a basement. Special mention should be made to the corridors, the staircase, the classical columns and all the statuesin the building.
THE VIEWS FROM THE LAW COURTS
From the square where the Palace is located, there is one of the best views of the lower part of Brussels. The upper part was the noble area of the city, whereas the lower partwas the home to the less well-off. The two areas are linked by a free lift. Discover here the best views of Brussels.
ODDITIES IN THE LAW COURTS
When you visit the Palace, it will draw your attention the fact that the Palace is full of scaffolding. Don’tyou think that you have not been lucky in your trip to Brussels to have the best picture of this Palace. Scaffolding is permanent. The Palace has been like that for decades, due to its weight and the fact that Brussels is mainly built on boggy land.
THE FUNCTION OF THE LAW COURTS
The building is currently the seat of the Judiciary and the Law Courts of Belgium.
THE FUTURE OF THE LAW COURTS
In 2013, a project was approved to change completely the function of the Palace. The project includes restaurants, shops, cinemas, meeting rooms etc. A cultural center in the heart of the European capital. The building urgently needs a change and arenovation.
Discover The Law Courts with the Free Tour in Brussels.
The Palace is open from 07:00h to 17:00h, Monday to Friday.
PRICE OF ADMISSION
Free of charge.
Place Poelaert 1
HOW TO GET THE LAW COURTS
- Subway: Louise, lines 2 and 6.
- Tram: lines 92 and 94.
SOME PLACES NEAR THE LAW COURTS
- Avenue Louise: (225 m)
- European Parliament (1.3 Km)
- Notre Dame du Sablon (511 m)
- Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium (719 m)
- Magritte Museum (820 m)
- Musical Instrument Museum (856 m)
- Palaceof Coudenberg (884 m)