Palace of Laeken in Brussels

Monday, 31 October 2022 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks
Reading Time:  6 minutes

© Chemical Engineer/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Chemical Engineer/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Palace of Laeken or Castle of Laeken is the official residence of the King of the Belgians and the Belgian Royal Family. It lies in the Brussels-Capital Region, 5 km (3 mi) north of the city centre, in Laeken (part of the City of Brussels), and sits in a large private park called the Royal Domain of Laeken. The palace was built between 1782 and 1784 for the Governors of the Habsburg Netherlands, and was originally named the Palace of Schonenberg. It was partly destroyed by fire in 1890, after which it was rebuilt and extended. Significant modifications were undertaken at the beginning of the 20th century during the reign of King Leopold II. Nowadays, it is often referred to as the Royal Palace of Laeken or Royal Castle of Laeken. The Palace of Laeken should not be confused with the Royal Palace of Brussels, in central Brussels, which is the official palace (not residence) of the King of the Belgians and from which state affairs are handled. It is served by Stuyvenbergh metro station on line 6 of the Brussels Metro.

The Royal Domain of Laeken is extensive, about 460 acres (190 ha), or slightly smaller than Monaco. The gardens are surrounded by walls and iron gates, and are closed to the public, although there have been calls for the king to open at least a portion of the park for public use amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Belgium. The gardens of the Royal Domain are landscaped in English style; the vast park includes lakes, a golf course and artworks. King Leopold II was very closely connected with the designs of his private gardens. It is in these gardens that his only son, Prince Leopold, Duke of Brabant, fell in a pond, and died subsequently from pneumonia, aged only nine. The king had trees planted for his new-born children, which still stand in the park. There are various pavilions, including the Chinese Pavilion and the Japanese Tower. They were commissioned by Leopold II and now form part of the Museums of the Far East. The rooms of the Chinese Pavilion are designed in chinoiserie Louis XIV and Louis XVI styles. They are decorated with Chinese motifs, chinaware and silverware. The Japanese Tower is a pagoda, inspired by a construction Leopold saw at the Paris Exposition of 1900. Leopold thus asked his architect Alexandre Marcel to build him a similar one in Laeken. In the gardens live several colonies of wild Canada geese, hundreds of cormorants and other large birds. The gardens are also home to one of the biggest colonies of herons in the country.

Royal Greenhouses © Jean-Pol GRANDMONT/cc-by-2.5 The gardens of the Royal Domain and the Japanese Tower © Jean-Pol GRANDMONT/cc-by-3.0 © Chemical Engineer/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Athenchen/cc-by-sa-3.0 Orangery © flickr.com - William Helsen/cc-by-2.0 Royal Greenhouses © Daderot
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The gardens of the Royal Domain and the Japanese Tower © Jean-Pol GRANDMONT/cc-by-3.0
The Royal Greenhouses of Laeken are located within the Royal Domain and are attached to the palace via the orangery. They were commissioned by King Leopold II and designed and built between 1874 and 1895 by Alphonse Balat. The total floor area of the immense complex covers 2.5 ha (6.2 acres). The main greenhouses, such as the Congo Greenhouse and the so-called Iron Church, a domed greenhouse, which would originally serve as the royal chapel, are all linked by flowered corridors spanning hundreds of meters. The complex is home to the famous Royal Botanic Collection, which includes large collections of camellias, orange trees and many plants originating from the African parts of the former Belgian Empire. Many sculptures and Chinese vases can also be found within the greenhouses.

The Palace of Laeken is mainly a residential palace and has a more sober and intimate character than the Royal Palace of Brussels. Since 1999, it has been the residence of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde with their family. The Royal Greenhouses of Laeken are open to the public for three weeks each year during the flowering period, in April–May. The palace is known for its stables, the Chinese pavilion and the Japanese Tower. The painting studio of Elisabeth of Bavaria, Queen of Belgium, can also be admired. At the request of Queen Paola, the play pavilion in which the children of King Leopold III grew up has been restored, so that Crown Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant could play there with her siblings and cousins.

Read more on monarchie.be – Castle of Laeken and Wikipedia Palace of Laeken (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.






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