From mid July to Mid September each year the Royal Palace in Brussels is opened up to the public - and it's FREE!
However, if you want to buy the guide book, they start at €15. I thought this was a bit steep for a guide book and so didn't buy this one but I still enjoyed my walk round the rooms of the palace.
The palace is no longer a residence used by the Belgian royal family since the death of Queen Astrid in 1935, but it is still used by the current King to entertain at great state events and visits by foreign heads of state.
The most interesting room for me was the mirror room which now is home to a contemporary work of art in the form of it's ceiling and chandelier which are coated in shimmering emerald green wing cases of Thai jewel beetles which is novel to say the least. It's actually amazingly beautiful as well.
Other highlights for me were the Throne Room which at the time of my visit was also hosting an exhibition of Central African art, and the Grand Hall which I thought was the prettiest room in the palace.
When entering the palace you must leave any bags at the cloakroom, which is free.
The Palais Royal is one of the king's palaces, although I gather not the one he and his family live in. It was free admission during the summer (I visited August 2012), 10:30-4:30, so it was pretty risk free. As it was, it was quite worth the visit. The building and the rooms you pass through are very ornate and heavily gilded, with gorgeous paintings and vases and chandeliers. Definitely how the other "half" live.
In one room, the ceiling has been decorated with 1.4 million wing cases of the Thai jewel beetle (an exhibit called Heaven of Delight), which is iridescent. They'd put some activities in that room as well, largely for the kids and rather scientific in nature.
The Palais Royale is the largest and most important building Royaley Quarter of the city, and is the official residence of the Belgian monarchy: a flag indicates the presence of the king in the country.
The construction of the Palace began around the twenties of the nineteenth century on the place where once stood the old palace Coudenberg, and much of the work was completed under the reign of Leopold II and during the twentieth century many improvements were provided.
lais Royale es el más grande e importante edificio del Quartier Royaley de la ciudad, y es la residencia oficial de la monarquía belga: una bandera indica la presencia del rey en el País.
La construcción del Palacio inició alrededor de los años veinte del siglo XIX sobre el lugar donde un tiempo se encontraba el antiguo Palacio Coudenberg, y gran parte de los trabajos fueron completados durante el reino de Leopoldo II y durante el siglo XX fueron aportadas numerosas mejorías.
The original Royal Palace was destroyed by fire in 1731. It was rebuilt on the original site, then later remodelled in Louis XVl style in the 19th. century as a residence for King Leopold ll. Further renovations followed at the beginning of the 20th. Century revieling the fine palace we see now. Although the flag was flying, the little sentry boxes were empty, no signs of life to be seen when we visited but the sun was shining and we had the Palace to ourselves. Although it is still a Royal Residence for the most part the King uses this building for business tbc
This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip to Brussels, we happened to walk by it on our way from our hotel to the Grand Place and noticed that the interior was open for viewing, it's only open for a limited time in the summer, in 2006 it was open from July 25-September 10, closed on Mondays.
Visiting the Royal Palace was free and I was surprised how much of the Palace they let you see. The most impressive room was the throne room, built during the reign of King Leopold II, with 11 chandeliers and gilded ceilings. The most unusual room is the mirror room, the ceiling decorated with more than a million Thai jewel beetles that sparkle like emeralds, installed by artist Jan Fabre in 2002.
The 19th century Palace is no longer the royal residence but it is used for state receptions and houses the offices of the current King and Queen. The Belgian flag flies over the Palace when the King is in Belgium.
No cameras are allowed inside the Palace but you can see pictures of the interior on the attached website including the bug coated ceiling.
Situated in Upper Town, and facing the Parc de Bruxelles, I came here when the Belgian Royal family was holidaying away in France and the gates locked and out of bounds.
The history of the palace can be traced back to Austrian rule in the 18th century when Empress Maria-Theresia had four houses built on the site to remind the Austrian governor in Brussels that he was not king. It was William I, king of the reunited Netherlands, who decided in 1815 to rebuild these houses to turn them into a royal palace. That was finished in 1829. One year later Belgium became independent and the new king of Belgium, Leopold I, decided to use the new palace as his residence. It was king Leopold II, who had the original building turned into the palace like we now know it. This transformation ended in 1903.
The palace was used as the residence of the Belgian King until after the death of Queen Astrid in 1935, when her husband Leopold III, decided to move his residence to the castle of Laken. His successors also resided in Laken. The royal palace in the centre is now used as the office of the king and as the residence of the crown prince.
The Royal Palace harbours a museum called Belle-vue with a collection about the Belgian royal dynasty.
The Belgian flag flies here when the king / queen is there. (The current monarch is King Albert II) There is a changing of the guard ceremony here each afternoon. The palace is usually open to the public from late July until the middle of September. Information on opening dates and hours can be obtained from 1st July by calling :
32-2/551.34.00 ( French )
32-2/551.34.01 ( Dutch )
32-2/551.34.02 ( German )
In the centre of the Palace is a statue of Godfrey de Bouillon on a horse, on his way to Jerusalem for the First Crusade.
Well… the Royal Palace is not the best-looking building in town but it fulfills its role of showing majesty and authority (even if the king has in fact, no authority). The king doesn’t live there though, this is just his over-sized office. He makes the commute, like a lot of his subjects, from nearby Laeken. If the flag is floating, the king is there. During the summer, the Palace is open for visits.
There are some weeks in July that this ROYAL PALACE is open to the public and of course I wanted to go there.........I had already passed that great place hundreds of times but I still hadn't seen it on the inside.
Here you see THE EMPIRE ROOM.
And well, I can tell you that it is GRANDIOSE & GLORIOUS.
I (AND ALL OTHER VISITORS) HAD TO hand in our cameras..........to our chagrin, of course.......how about that!
Of course, walking through all those SPLENDID HALLS, ROOMS, SALONS, walking up & down majestic staircases, all with the most fantastic names and filled from floor to ceiling with works of ART.......I tried to take it all in.........but I knew I couldn't who you how magnificent it really was.
But, I didn't despair and decided to buy postcards at the end of the tour.........
you won't believe me perhaps, but there were only 2 postcards of mediocre quality but I shall them show you here.......
My advice can only be: go there yourself.......and enjoy it, like I did last July.......
During the Austrian rule in the 18th century, empress Maria-Theresia preferred not to have the old palace rebuilt because she didn't want the Austrian governor in Brussels to feel himself like a king. Only four houses where built on the site where the palace now stands.
It was William I, king of the reunited Netherlands, who decided in 1815 to rebuild these houses to turn them into a royal palace. This was finished in 1829. One year later Belgium became independent and the new king of Belgium, Leopold I, decided to use the new palace as his residence. It was king Leopold II, who had the original building turned into the palace like we now know it. This transformation ended in 1903.
A virtual tour in the Royal Palace
Numerous good tips were written here about the Palais Royal of Brussels (actually there are two, one in the centre and one in Laeken). So no reason to write one more except to mention that a large number of young Belgians slept, free of charge, at the Palais Royal as well in Brussels as in Laeken. How did they do?
It was very simple: They got engaged in the Belgian army (they had not the choice, military service, now abolished, was obligatory in that time).
Each battalion was sending a company on guard for a fortnight at one 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 hotel service at the Palais Royal did even provide a lunch for the officer of guard.
I never forgot that "oeuf poché" in company of a countess "Dame de compagnie de la Reine" and a colonel "Officier de la Maison du Roi".
Those were the advantages of military service in a constitutional peaceful kingdom!
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