National Basilica of the Sacred Heart

© O. Barrea

A trip to the National Basilica in Koekelberg – a monument dedicated to the peace that was restored following the Great War – is an experience like no other. The fifth largest church in the world, it is one of the most fascinating and imposing Art Deco buildings in western Europe and is the pièce de résistance of its creator, Ghent architect Albert van Huffel. Its magnificent copper dome, which is visible for many miles around, rises to a height of 100 metres above the ground and weighs no less than 444,000 tonnes, almost five times the total weight of the Eiffel Tower in Paris! The basilica is every bit as magnificent on the inside too: terracotta bricks, stained glass and the ever-changing interplay of light and shade bring the vast space alive in a blaze of colour and make for a rather enigmatic atmosphere. The monumental Art Deco staircase is both an attractive complement to the rest of the building and a sublime achievement in decorative architecture. No-one can fail to be impressed by the artworks lining the basilica and housed in the complex’s two museums; these include pieces by George Minne, Joan Miró and Constant Permeke. The basilica is also home to a permanent exhibition of the works of South Korean artist Kim En Joong, whose abstract, richly coloured creations further enhance the beauty of this unique space. The panoramic viewpoint, perched 53 metres above the ground, gives visitors a stunning bird’s-eye view of Brussels and the surrounding area. In fact, on a clear day, it is even possible to make out Mechelen Cathedral and the sloping boat lift at Ronquières in the distance!

Guided tours on Sun. at 13:30, 14:30 and 15:30 (French), 13:00, 14:00 and 15:00 (Dutch).

The exhibition 50 years of colour and Art Deco showcases the materials used in the basilica and highlights its very colourful, warm atmosphere.

A €6 admission fee applies to the panoramic viewpoint and the museums.

Practical information

Sun. only, 13:00 to 18:00

Parvis de la Basilique/Basiliekvoorplein 1, Koekelberg

2 6 Simonis/Élisabeth - Simonis/Elisabeth
9 Simonis/Élisabeth - Simonis/Elisabeth
19 Collège Sacré-Cœur - Heilig Hartcollege
13 87 Collège Sacré-Cœur - Heilig Hartcollege
Accessible with assistance

Accessible with assistance