In the mid-19th century, every municipality had its own slaughterhouse, and livestock was moved through the Belgian capital’s streets. In the interests of efficiency, it was decided to build a large complex of abattoirs and covered markets in Anderlecht, which were officially opened on 24 August 1890. Two monumental pillars, each topped with a statue of a mighty bull, marked the main entrance to the buildings, which were designed by architect Émile Tirou. They were dominated by a huge fully-glazed hall, measuring 100 metres on each side and built using 218 tonnes of cast iron and 640 tonnes of standard iron. A forest of columns supported the metal roof frame, which consisted of a series of segmental arches. The venture gave an economic boost to the area, with butchers, tanners, saddlers, candlemakers and felt factories setting up nearby. In 1919, the complex was bought by the municipal authorities. However, they failed to invest in upgrading the facilities, leading to the site’s closure in 1983. That same year, a new limited company called Abattoirs et Marchés d’Anderlecht/Slachthuizen en Markten van Anderlecht (Abattoirs and Markets of Anderlecht) – later renamed Abattoir SA/NV – was set up, which in 1987, after extensive investment and modernisation work, managed to win back the export licence that had previously been lost. Today, the abattoirs host weekly markets attracting tens of thousands of customers to the site each week. They also continue to expand, with a new food hall called FOODMET – a vast (10,000-m²) covered market – opening on 29 May 2015. (Listed 08/08/1988)
Guided tours: Sat. at 10:00 and Sun. at 12:00 (in French); Sat. at 12:00 and Sun. at 10:00 (in Dutch).
Sat. & Sun., 10:00 to 14:00
Rue Ropsy-Chaudron/Ropsy-Chaudronstraat 24, Anderlecht
By reservation only
Accessible with assistance