Tours & Walks, Brussels

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  • Square Ambiorix, Brussels
    Square Ambiorix, Brussels
    by ATLC
  • Avenue Palmerston, Brussels
    Avenue Palmerston, Brussels
    by ATLC
  • Avenue Palmerston, Brussels
    Avenue Palmerston, Brussels
    by ATLC
  • irisbe's Profile Photo

    De Marollen: the REAL Brussels: 1:minimeplein

    by irisbe Updated Oct 31, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    From upper town to down town Brussels

    De Marollen is the place of the common people of Brussels and is situated in downtown, in the shadow of the Palace of Justice.

    If you are at the Poelaertplein and take the elevator down you will find yourself in no time in downtown at a nice little square (see picture below)



    During the war this area was very much damaged by bombing. The rubbish was cleaned up and replaced by grey houses.

    The people who lived in this area hated Joseph Poelaert because they held him responsible for the demolishing of 100rds of houses that needed to disappear so the "Schieven Architect" could build his mastodont of a palace. He would not live the finishing as he went totally crazy before it got completed.

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    De Marollen: the REAL Brussels: 2

    by irisbe Written Oct 31, 2004

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    F.X. De Beukelaer at Brussels

    After crossing the little square of the previous tip you turn the left and will immediatly see some nice houses that used to belong to Jacqmotte (it still has a coffee can and it's name on the door and F.X. De Beukelaer (see picture).
    It is a bit suprising that you find these big houses in an area that is considered rather to be "poor".

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    Have you ever heard of a war pigeon statue?

    by irisbe Updated Oct 19, 2004

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    Pigeon of war comemorate statue

    Have you ever heard of a pigeon statue?

    Near the Place Saint Catherine or Sint Katelijne plein, you will find this curious statue of this lady holding a pigeon.
    This statue is erected to commemorate the pigeons used during the World War.
    When important messages had to be brought over the front line, they fixed this on to the pigeon’s legs. Many must have died during service I guess.

    I wonder if any other country has this kind of statue?

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    De Marollen: the REAL Brussels: 7

    by irisbe Updated Oct 31, 2004

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    Public bathing house Brussels

    Nearby the Vossenplein when your turn around a corner you will be discover the last public bathing house in Brussels.
    Before people had their own bathroom, they could come here for bathing and douches.
    You still can do so but as you can see on the price list at the right, they keep different prices for people from inside our outside the city!
    But when it is opened, even you can come here to take a shower :)

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    It's not a castle?

    by belgianchocolate Written Apr 17, 2004

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    We were driving to the fleamarket
    at the 'vossenplein' when I saw a castle...lol.
    Well it's not a castle it's a 'prison'.
    A well know one in Belgium.
    Belgian prisons have got an habbit to be
    egg-full. Guards get on a strike etc...

    The prison of 'Sint-Gillis' is no
    exception on that rule. But it is an interesting
    building. She was finished in 1884
    and had to replace the prison of the
    carmelite order at the 'Zavel'.
    'Tudorstyle' , it reminds of a midieval
    castle and reflects the timespirit back then.

    You can visit...(you know how..;-))
    But I don't know you will be home in
    time if you do get in.

    Location :
    'Place Antoine Delporte ,
    Antoine Delporte plein'
    Sint-Gillis
    (visit also 'Chez moeder Lambic - nightlife tip -
    watch the amazing town hall ,
    great architecture in this area ...)

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  • irisbe's Profile Photo

    De Marollen: the REAL Brussels: 5

    by irisbe Updated Oct 31, 2004

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    Cite Hellemans in the Marollen, Brussels

    Walk a bit further and turn at your right into the Sistervatstraat and then turn in left at the Kuiperstraat.
    Revolutionary! That is what was said of these blocks of social houses built in the Marollen area “Cite Hellemans”, named after the architect Hellemans who designed these social houses dating from 1913. Cite Hellemans consists out of five parallel streets with this same kind of houses.
    Why it was so revotionary? Well for the first time these apartments had room ventilation and they had their own flushing toilet inside the house, whereas before people had a shared toilet outside that was mostly a bench with a hole in the middle on top of a pit.
    Since 1975 this area worn down but recently it has been renovated again and at what nice result!

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  • irisbe's Profile Photo

    De Marollen: the REAL Brussels: Vossenplein 4

    by irisbe Written Oct 31, 2004

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    Ambiance in Brussels, Vossenplein

    There are quite some really local pubs around and on our unforgettable big VT meeting of 30th November 2003 we made a pit stop at the little pub on the corner of the Vossenplein, diagonal at the opposite side of the fire fighter’s building (right in front of the Schieve Architect).
    You might recognize some VT members on the picture!
    Want to look up more about our Brussels’s adventures of that day? Then don’t hesitate to visit the Fotki photo album!

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  • irisbe's Profile Photo

    De Marollen: the REAL Brussels: 3

    by irisbe Written Oct 31, 2004

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    street vendor of karakollen in Brussels

    Turn next street to the right and left again and you will find yourself in the Hoogstraat/Rue Haute (Main Street).

    This street is probably one of the best-known streets of the Marollen. It is bursting with life and you will find one little shop next to the other.
    You might also see some street vendors (see picture) selling their “karakollen”, a kind of snail boiled in some bouillon. It smells a bit to fish and you need to chew on it.
    I leave this “delicatesse” to others!

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  • irisbe's Profile Photo

    De Marollen: the REAL Brussels: Vossenplein 1

    by irisbe Updated Apr 7, 2005

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    Activities on Vossenplein

    I little bit further we arrive at the Vossenplein (Place du jeu de balle). This little square has it’s own daily flee market each day. It is an old tradition dating from 1640 on.
    You will have to be here between 7 am and 2 pm.
    If you are interested in anything more then flowers, then you should drop by and visit the market on Thursday and Sunday’s.

    If the market is over, then the square is often used for other events. I found this little state on the square during my summer walk. Seemly I missed the performance `-)

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    De Marollen: the REAL Brussels: Vossenplein 3

    by irisbe Updated Nov 2, 2004

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    Fire fighter building at Vossenplein Brussels

    The name Vossenplein derives from the Vossenstraat and the Renard factory, a factory specialized in steam engines. In 1844 it closed down and the whole area is cleaned up and made ready for urbanisation. The city councelor for urbanisation who’s plan this was, is Mr. Blaes. The Blaesstraat is named after him.
    The square was only finished when two big building projects were realised: the new Capucine church and then the new Fire fighters building (see picture).
    Believe it or not but it is again architect J. Poelaert who designed it and made up the plans.
    Because it was considered healthy for the people they had some amusement, a kind of ball game lane was realised.
    It was this game that inspired the francophone to start to call the Vossenplein the “Place du Jeu de Balle”.

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    De Marollen: the REAL Brussels: 9

    by irisbe Written Oct 31, 2004

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    Cartoon wall paintings in Brussels

    Even the Marollen is not deprived of the nice murals that you can find all over the city.
    At the Tourist information centre you can ask for a map on which you can follow the route that brings you to all these nice wall paintings.
    This is one of the walks I plan to do in the future as I don’t want to miss any of them!

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    De Marollen: the REAL Brussels: 6

    by irisbe Updated Oct 31, 2004

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    Cite Hellemans in the Marollen, Brussels

    I cannot deny you some more detail about these houses at the Cite Hellemans. As mentioned in the previous tip, they offered the luxury of a private flushing toilet; they also had their bathrooms and little basements.
    When I was watching these little doors they looked to me, as they were mini garages. But people didn’t have a car those days and so what then did they use it for?

    In those days the ones who could afford it, had a dog pulled cart. Just a few days ago I saw an old movie of those days where a girl delivering milk, was transporting the milk on such a car.
    These little garages were for the dog cars! So they were garages indeed!



    Hellemans's project had very much international fame and people from England came to check it out and have similar projects starting over there (not sure but I thought it was in Liverpool, correct me if I am wrong).

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  • irisbe's Profile Photo

    De Marollen: the REAL Brussels: 10: royal!

    by irisbe Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    shelter for animals

    Another place I stumbled upon during my walk through the Marollen is the animal dispensary that is operating under the Prince Laurent Foundation.
    Prince Laurent is the 2nd son of King Albert II.
    His love for animals, and in particular dogs, is well known.
    You can find more information about this foundation in the link provided with this tip.

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    De Marollen: the REAL Brussels: 4

    by irisbe Written Oct 31, 2004

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    Space to play on the streets in the Marollen

    De Marollen is the place of the common people of Brussels and is situated in downtown, in the shadow of the Palace of Justice.
    Here people were named Ketjes and they spoke the local dialect, a kind of Flemish but then with a big accent and their own colourful words.
    Nowadays a lot of immigrants have moved into this part of the town as well and are housed in many of the social houses. It makes the neighbourhood very “colourful”.
    Here people still live and kids still play on the street.

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    De Marollen: the REAL Brussels: Vossenplein 2

    by irisbe Written Oct 31, 2004

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    statue for the homeless Brussels

    In the middle of the market you will find a remarkable statue. It is dedicated to the homeless.
    The iron statue itself is resting on a block that is decorated with keys… the keys to your home.
    Just at the end of the Vossenplein, in the Hectoliterstraat you can find the care centre Poverello. Here about 1300 homeless can find shelter or free meals.

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