Laken, Brussels

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  • Garde Palais de Laeken 1965.
    Garde Palais de Laeken 1965.
    by breughel
  • Laken
    by Museeuw
  • Laken
    by Museeuw
  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Palais Royal de Laeken.

    by breughel Written Nov 30, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Garde Palais de Laeken 1965.

    There are two King Palaces in Brussels. The Palais Royal de Bruxelles, in the centre, is the office of the King and can be visited in the summer; the Palais Royal de Laeken (north of the centre) is the place where he lives surrounded by a very large park. This Palace can not be visited but the Green Houses are visited from mid-April to mid-May.
    I visited them several times because the collection of flowers, mostly Azaleas is just wonderful.
    The architecture of these green houses designed by Balat, professor of the famous Horta, makes them one of the principal Belgian monuments of the 19th c.
    As what concerns the Palace itself, situated at about 250 m from the present road and gate, it was built between 1782-1784 after the plans of the French architect Charles de Wailly under supervision of Louis Montoyer as a summer residence for the Governors of the Habsburg Netherlands,
    After the invasion by the French revolutionaries Napoleon stayed here with his Empress in August 1804.
    The palace became the residence of the Belgian kings in 1831 with the accession to the throne of King Leopold I.

    At one time in 1965 a very small part of the palace - the house of the guards just right of the entrance under trees - became my own residence fort a couple of nights!
    In the years that there was a military service in Belgium each battalion would send a company on guard for a fortnight to each of the King Palaces. Most conscripts liked it because it was an occasion to come back from Germany where the largest part of the Belgian army was located watching the "iron curtain".
    The military guard was there only for the parade saluting the King when he would leave for the Palace of Brussels. The effective security was in hands of the Gendarmerie now Police Fédérale. We were not allowed to move further than the gate and the guard's house.
    It was the custom that the officer on guard from the battalion was invited for lunch at the Palace.
    I remember walking with my white gloves, pistol at the belt, officer's stick and my black beret of the Carabiniers Cyclistes to the flight of steps of the castle, entering the hall and leaving these military attributes in the antechamber. Then I had lunch with a countess and a colonel from the Maison du Roi. The lunch was a deception for me because the food was on the light side for my big appetite and furthermore to be polite I had to talk to my guests not leaving me much time to eat.
    This was certainly the most glorious day of my usually discreet life.
    As souvenir I have this photo showing the "relève de la garde"; I'm the guy with black beret on the left.
    I must say in all modesty that I was not bad in barking orders. My RSM (regimental sergeant major) who had been in WW II with the British, had taught me how to do.

    Has this review any interest for the present tourist? NO, since several years there is no military guard anymore at the Palais de Laeken.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Castles and Palaces

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    Visit the Royal Greenhouses

    by Museeuw Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Every spring the royal greenhouses in Laken are open for the public for about three weeks. My wife and I visited them once, and it was really worth it.

    In 2007 they're open from the 18th of April until the 5th of May (except on Mondays and the 24th of April)

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  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    Royal Residence

    by toonsarah Written Mar 4, 2007

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    Royal Residence

    In the suburb of Laken/Laeken is the "Chateau de Laeken", or royal residence, which we were able to see on our bus tour of the city. The palace in the city centre (le Palais Royal) is the official office of the king, but this royal residence in Laken is where the royal family actually lives.

    It was built in 1772 by Albert von Sachsen-Teschen, the Governor of the Austrian Netherlands. After the French takeover of power in the southern Netherlands it was purchased by Napoleon in 1804. After the battle of Waterloo in 1815 it became the property of King William I, king of the united Netherlands, and 15 years later in 1830, when Belgium became independent, King Leopold I received it as a gift from the Belgian state. It became the permanent home of the royal family during the reign of King Leopold III.

    In the royal park are a series of huge greenhouses, but their collections of tropical plants and flowers are only open to the public during 10 days in April and May.

    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces

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  • speed4turtles's Profile Photo

    Brussels ( Laken ) Monument for King Leopold 1

    by speed4turtles Updated Aug 25, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Monument for King Leopold 1

    Inside the Notre Dame church is the royal crypt where the kings and queens of Belgium are buried. Five Belgian kings have found there grave here: Leopold I, Leopold II, Albert I, Leopold III and king Boudewijn. The crypt is only open to the public on special occasions such as the anniversary of the death of one of the kings, the first of November (All Saints Day) and the 15th of November (Dynasty day).

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    Brussels ( Laken ) Our lady church

    by speed4turtles Updated Aug 25, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Our lady church Laken

    Laken is the name of one of the suburbs of Brussels. It is also the community where the royal family of Belgium lives in the Royal Residence, nearby the Notre Dame church. Not far away is the Heysel area with the Atomium and Mini-Europe.

    The church was built in 1854, during the reign of King Leopold I, to commemorate the death of his wife Louise-Marie of Orléans, Belgium's first queen . The construction continued until 1908. At the moment (March 1997) the church is again under renovation.

    The Notre Dame church was designed by Joseph POELAERT, the architect of the Brussels Palace of Justice. Behind the church, in the cemetery of Laken, one can still see the choir of the old medieval church which used to stand here. This cemetery is certainly worth a visit because of the magnificent late 19th century tombstones and graves belonging to the Brussels bourgeoisie. Among the many statues is an original "Thinker" of Rodin.

    Inside the Notre Dame church is the royal crypt where the kings and queens of Belgium are buried. Five Belgian kings have found there grave here: Leopold I, Leopold II, Albert I, Leopold III and king Boudewijn. The crypt is only open to the public on special occasions such as the anniversary of the death of one of the kings, the first of November (All Saints Day) and the 15th of November (Dynasty day).

    Location
    Onze Lieve Vrouw Voorplein / Parvis Notre Dame in Laken / Laeken.

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  • funkymama's Profile Photo

    THE ROYAL RESIDENCE.

    by funkymama Written Aug 25, 2002

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    In the suburb of Laken/Laeken, just outside the city center, lies the royal domain with the 'Chateau de Laeken', or the royal residence. Whereas the palace in Brussels is the official office of the king, the royal residence in Laken is the place where the royal family lives. It was built in 1772 by Albert von Sachsen-Teschen, the Governor of the Austrian Netherlands as his residence. After the French take-over of power in the southern Netherlands it was purchased by Napoleon in 1804. After the battle of Waterloo in 1815 it became the property of King William I, king of the united Netherlands. Another change of owner occurred 15 years later in 1830 when Belgium became independent. King Leopold I received it as a gift from the Belgian state. After a fire in 1890 it was rebuilt and enlarged. It became the permanent residence of the royal family during the reign of King Leopold III.

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