Palace of Justice
The largest building in Europe when it opened in 1883, Brussels’ Palace of Justice – designed by architect Joseph Poelaert – is an edifice of truly vast proportions. Measuring 150 by 160 metres, the rectangular complex covers an area of 26,000 m² and rests on mighty stone foundations, designed to offset a drop of nearly 20 metres. Its outline provides a majestic backdrop at the end of Rue de la Régence/Regentschapsstraat. Construction work began in 1866, with whole swathes of the Marolles/Marollen neighbourhood demolished to make way for it. Poelaert’s work is a showcase for eclectic architecture and was described as Assyro-Babylonian by poet Paul Verlaine, although in fact the building owes more to Pericles’s Greece and Hadrian’s Rome. The originality of the design and expansive use of space testifies to Poelaert’s talent. The dome, 17 metres in diameter with a structure made up of metal arches, towers over the complex. Inside, looking up from the marble floor of the lobby into the dome, the dizzying perspective is a paean to emptiness. The lobby sometimes plays host to theatrical performances, and visitors curious to see inside can take guided tours of the labyrinthine interior.
Guided tours: Sat. at 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00 and 17:00 (in French); 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 14:30, 15:30 16:30 and 17:30 (in Dutch). In cooperation with Arkadia and Korei Guided Tours.
Sat. only, 10:00 to 18:00
Place Poelaert/Poelaertplein, Brussels
Guided tours and by reservation only. Please arrive 15 minutes before your reservation and make sure you do not have any sharp objects on you