Royal Church of Sainte-Marie/ Sint-Maria
In 1844, Louis Van Overstraeten won the architectural competition that had been organised with a view to building a royal church in a strategic location on the route between the royal palaces in central Brussels and Laeken/Laken. The young Ghent architect devised a building in the Romanesque-Byzantine Revival style, based on a central octagon surrounded by apsidal chapels. The building is topped with a magnificent dome, which rests on pendentives supported by clustered pillars. Borrowing from Gothic architecture, Van Overstraeten used flying buttresses to further strengthen the structure. Construction work began in 1845 and the church was opened on 15 August 1853 as a tribute to Queen Louise-Marie, who had died three years before. Inside the church, the white-plastered walls are edged in natural stone, creating an attractive contrast. Together, the church’s original decor and furniture, and particularly the chiselled copper high altar in the Mosan Romanesque style, form an excellent example of Byzantine-style art, of which there are few other such consistent specimens in Brussels. Traces of murals can be seen on the walls, while the windows hold stained glass crafted by master glassmaker Jean-Baptiste Capronnier and installed in 1887. A ceramic artwork illustrating the church’s history, created by ceramicist Max van der Linden, was added in 1966. (Listed since 9 November 1976)
Guided tours, Saturday at 12:00, 14:00 and 16:00 and Sunday at 13:00, 15:00 and 17:00. In cooperation with Église et Tourisme Bruxelles/Kerk en Toerisme Brussel.
Sat. & Sun., 10:00 to 18:00
Place de la Reine/Koninginneplein, Schaerbeek/Schaarbeek