Hotel de Ville - Town Hall, Brussels

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    Town Hall, Brussels
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  • Willettsworld's Profile Photo

    Hotel de Ville

    by Willettsworld Written Jun 11, 2006

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    The first foundation stone of Brussels’ magnificent Town Hall was laid in 1401 and the rest of this architectural masterpiece was finished in 1459 making it the finest civic building in the country, a stature it still enjoys today. The tower and spire (96m/315ft high) were begun later in 1449 by Jan van Ruysbroeck and feature a statue of the city’s patron saint, Michael, on the top, which was restored in 1997.

    Inside, many of the beautiful rooms are still used for civic purposes such as the Alderman’s Room for meetings of the aldermen and mayor of Brussels which contains a series of 18th century tapestries depicting the history of the 6th century King Clovis.

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    Stadhuis/ Hotel de Ville

    by martin_nl Written Nov 11, 2002

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    When entering the Market Place from one of the seven side-streets, one's eyes are drawn automatically to the gothic tower of the town hall pointing skywards. Up to this day the "Hotel de Ville", or "Stadhuis" is considered to rank among the most beautiful city halls in the Low Countries.

    City Hall tower
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    Town hall

    by OlafS Updated Feb 20, 2004

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    One of the most famous sights in Brussel is the medieval town hall on the Grote Markt. If I had time I'm sure there's a lot of details to be admired.

    I took this picture just a few hours before a big beerfestival would start. That's what those tents belong too. Unfortunately I couldn't attend the festival myself.

    Brussel: town hall

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    Hôtel de Ville

    by mikey_e Written Jan 4, 2009

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    The Hôtel de Ville or Town Hall is the only remaining Mediaeval structure in the Grand-Place. It was constructed in the 15th century in a Gothic style, and its massive bell-tower can be seen from quite a distance, provided a good landmark and also a recognizable monument for all of Brussels. If you look closely at the Town Hall, you'll notice that the right and left wings (on either side of the bell-tower) are not equal and that the building is not symmetrical. A legend in the city says that the architect threw himself from the tower when he realized this, but the truth is that the two sides of the building were built in different eras. The façade of the building, with it enormous number of carved Saints and notable figures, is awe-inspiring just when you think of the amount of work that must have been needed to complete the detail.

    The bell-tower of the Town Hall Close up perspective of the tower
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    Hôtel de Ville, Its Interior

    by von.otter Written Apr 22, 2012

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    “Yesterday I inspected the interior of the Hôtel de Ville with the Burgomaster of Brussels, M. de Brouckere, who is most courteously showing me over the town.”
    — Victor Hugo, from a letter to his wife, 5.January.1852

    COURTEOUS INSPECTION  Our guide was not as prestigious as Monsieur Hugo’s; nonetheless we too made an inspection of the interior of Hôtel de Ville.

    Stadhuis, what the Flemish call a city hall, is still an active municipal building; we were lucky enough to visit on a non-working day. Amid the gilded chandeliers and centuries-old tapestries, the 21st-century world has crept in: electronic voting devices are at each seat (see photo #4).

    Among civic functions at Hôtel de Ville, marriages are performed and it is the official seat of the mayor of Brussels. The lobby (see photos #1 & #2), enter from the courtyard, is 19th century in style.

    A visit to the interior can be made only with one of the scheduled tours. The tour in English takes place on Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 15:15; in summer Sundays at 10:45 and 12:15. The tariff is 3 euros. The 40-minute tour is conducted by a guide, who shows the group around the council chamber and various rooms, which are decorated with 15th century tapestries and other works of art (see photos #4 & #5).

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    Town Hall tower

    by traveloturc Written Aug 4, 2006

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    The tower, in pure Gothic style, dates from the 15th century. The tower is topped by a gilt statue of St. Michael, the city's patron saint, fighting the dragon. Legend has it that the architect, Jean Van Ruysbroeck, made a suicide because the porch looked badly centered. It is a fact that the two wings of the town hall are not of equal size, because they were not built at the same time, and for the same reason, the gate is not in the middle of the tower.

    town hall

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    Town Hall

    by mvtouring Updated Apr 21, 2004

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    When entering the Market Place from one of the seven side-streets, one's eyes are drawn automatically to the gothic tower of the town hall pointing skywards. Up to this day the "Hotel de Ville", or "Stadhuis" is considered to rank among the most beautiful city halls. The first stone was laid in the spring of 1402. The architect is believed to be JACOB VAN THIENEN.
    After the destruction of Brussels in August 1695 by the French troops of DE VILLEROY, only the tower and the outside walls of the town hall had been saved. Restoration works started almost immediately after the catastrophe. In the 17th and 18th centuries the original decorative statues withered away or disappeared. By 1840 a complete restoration was necessary. It was then that the entire facade became decorated with a total of 203 little statues representing the Dukes and Duchesses of Brabant who ruled the dukedom between the year 580 and 1564.

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    Hôtel de Ville

    by zadunajska8 Written Aug 19, 2012

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    The most impressive building on the Grand Place is the towering Hôtel de Ville. The left wing and then first part of the tower were completed in the early 15th century and the right wing and ornate spire were added in the middle of that century.

    The facade is covered in statues of the dukes and duchesses of Brabant. Funds ran out in 1455 before all of them were in place and so it wasn't until 1852 when writer Victor Hugo raised the remaining money that they were completed. The original statues are now stored away and the ones you can see are replicas.

    You can wander in to the central courtyard where you will see a brass star in the ground. This is known as point zero and is the marker that all distances in Belgium are supposedly measured from.

    There are tours of the interior of the town hall, unfortunately they were not whilst I was there. They are scheduled for 3.15pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and at 12.15pm on Sundays, but check before you go in case these change.

    Google Map

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    Hotel de Ville

    by littlesam1 Written Jun 12, 2003

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    Perhaps the most beautiful building in Brussels. The Hotel de Ville is located in the Grand Place. The tower is 315 feet tall. Sadly the architect for the tower Jan van Ruysbroeck committed suicide by throwing himself off the tower.

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    A City Hall in the Gothic Style

    by von.otter Updated Apr 11, 2012

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    “Hotel de Ville is magnificent, and its beautiful Gothic belfry gives, in quite another line, an equal companion in one’s memory to the soaring campanile of the palace of the Signoria at Florence.”
    — from “Transatlantic Sketches” 1875 by Henry James

    SOARING MEMORIES For us, the Signoria of Florence never came to mind when we saw Hôtel de Ville (in Flemish, Stadhuis) on our first full day in Bruxelles.

    The 215-foot tall tower of the dazzling Hôtel de Ville sprouts near its middle, yet it’s not placed directly in the center. Legend tells us, that when the architect realized what he had done he jumped from the tower’s summit. The French used the tower as a bull’s eye during their 1695 bombardment. Fortunately, their aim was poor. Unfortunately, all the surrounding guild houses were destroyed by the wayward French ordinances, but Hôtel de Ville was unharmed.

    Gothic intricacy is at its best on the façade (see photos #2, #3, & #4) of the town hall, built between 1402 and 1450. The dozens of arched windows are flanked by marble sculptures, depicting kings and queens, saints and sinners.

    H��tel de Ville, Bruxelles, May 2011 H��tel de Ville, Bruxelles, May 2011 H��tel de Ville, Bruxelles, May 2011 H��tel de Ville, Bruxelles, May 2011 H��tel de Ville, Bruxelles, May 2011
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    Hôtel de Ville, Its Courtyard

    by von.otter Written Apr 3, 2012

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    “Hotel de Ville attracted my interest by the busts in relief of Charles the Bold, his daughter Mary, the heiress of Burgundy, Maximilian, Charles the V, Philip II, and several others of the rulers of other days.”
    — from a letter written by Samuel Norvell Lapsley, U.S. missionary to the Congo, to his father, 1890

    Hôtel de Ville has an inner courtyard, which is open to the public that is not as imposing as its Gothic exterior. Corneille Van Nerven completed the design for the courtyard in 1712. The Van Nerven redesigned Hôtel de Ville in a quadrilateral form when a fire, caused by the French bombs of 1695, destroyed most of it.

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    Town Hall

    by rcsparty Written Nov 10, 2007

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    Designed by Jan van Ruysbroeck in the 15th century. It has a steeple rising 103 meters above the ground. The tower is topped by a gilded copper statue of the towns patron saint, Michael. The hall tower was used as a target for Louis XIV's guns during the bombardment of Brussels, and was the one building not demolished.

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    Old Town Hall

    by Ewingjr98 Updated May 20, 2007

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    Also known as the "Hotel de Ville" or "Stadhuis," is Brussels' magnificent Town Hall. Construction ran from 1402 until 1405, with what is now the left side of the hall. From 1444 to 1449 the right wing was built and the great tower was completed in 1449 also. In 1455 the guilded statue of St. Michael slaying the devil was added as the finishing touch...this original statue remained in place until 1996!

    Though French troops destroyed Brussels in 1695, the tower and exterior walls of the Town Hall were saved and the building completely rebuilt to its previous beauty.

    The Town Hall still contains the Mayor of Brussels' office, and guided tours are available.

    Town Hall from a dark side street Town Hall from the Bourse Town Hall from the Grand Place

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    Brussels Townhall

    by speed4turtles Updated Aug 25, 2003

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    When entering the Market Place from one of the seven side-streets, one's eyes are drawn automatically to the gothic tower of the town hall pointing skywards. Up to this day the "Hotel de Ville", or "Stadhuis" is considered to rank among the most beautiful city halls in the Low Countries.

    The construction of the building represents the growing power of Brussels as the capital of the Dukedom of Brabant. Until the end of the 14th century some small wooden houses and inns used to stand on the site where later the town hall would be build. Because of the growing importance of the city, the administrators decided to buy these old houses one by one, demolish them and build a new town hall that would match the city's need for a large administrative center. The first stone was laid in the spring of 1402. This original town hall (which is now the left wing) was completed in 1405, together with a small tower. The architect is believed to be JACOB VAN THIENEN. However, on March the 3rd 1444, the original building was extended with a smaller right wing, which was ready in 1449. In that same year the architect JAN VAN RUYSBROECK built the tower that still crowns the building today. This extension of the town hall was a result of the rivalry between Brussels and the neighboring city of Leuven. Leuven also aspired to the title of 'capital of the Dukedom of Brabant' and had therefore constructed a massive and extremely prestigious town hall (which still is the most beautiful one in Belgium and worth a trip

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    Townhall

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  • keeweechic's Profile Photo

    Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall)

    by keeweechic Updated Aug 7, 2006

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    Styled as Gothic and built in 1402, it was the only building to survive a bombing in 1695 during the French occupation of Brussels.

    There are guided tours which operate and take you through the beautiful rooms with wonderful artwork. The tourist centre is also located in this building.

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