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!
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.
At the other side of the Royal Park, you can see the Royal Palace.
The Palace built by the dukes of Burgundy in the 15th century burnt down in 1731. The rests were pulled down in 1775 in order to build the Royal district.
During the reign of Willem I he connected two big houses till it was one Palace.
King Leopold I was the first Belgian King which came here to live, he was the first to live in the completely new Palace.
Since 1935 (the death of Queen Astrid), the Royal family lives in the Royal Palace of Laken.
So mow this is used as the office of the King. And when the Belgium flag is on top of the Building that means that the King is in the country.
Vive Le Roi - Leve de Koning
There has been a chapel on this site for over 700 years. The present church was built after the fire of 1731 and consecrated in 1787. The beautiful cupola is worth the visit.
There are many more attractions within walking distance, a good district to wander around.
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.
When walking towards the Parc de Bruxelles and Palais De La Nation we passed the Mont De Arts building and took the photo of the Carillion Clock.
Note the Statute of Man and Bell on top of the building.
Some days in the year, Palais Royal is open to visits. Usually, it opens during summer till early september: from July 21 to September 7. Then, you can go there, visit the interior.
My first visit was in 1993 and I don't remember of anything. I expected to see the royal family but couldn't "meet" any. Frustration ! It only serves as office for the King and Queen as well as Prince Philippe and Princesse Mathilde (not sure).
It's worth the visit anyway. For more about Belgian monarchy (even pics), browse below website. Sorry only Dutch, French, German (Belgium official languages)
[Update Aug 2004: I visited the parts that were open for visit, namely a newly released artwork in La salle des Glaces. Its ceiling is covered by artfully "glued" bright, metallic and iridescent green, blue and orange elytra on it. Light reveals the designs of either rainbows, bugs, globes, angels... Mixed feelings about it, it's beautiful but I (and other visitors) couldn't help wondering how many bugs had been "de-elytraed" to achieve this piece of art ? Oooh! how could I forget, there was also this ceiling chandelier covered by elytra, mostly green. This time, you really have the impression the bugs were gathering on the chandelier and slowly made their way downwards.. and eventually ended up on yor head... Uuuh! ]
BTW, you can stroll in Royal park as well. Nice place with fountains where you would meet office people having their noon lunch.
Opening hours: 10h30 - 16h30
The Royal Palace is overlooking the Parc of Brussels. The King and Queen reside in the Palace of Laeken, but King Albert II has his offices here and it is used for state receptions, royal audiences and court ceremonies.
The Palace is only open to the public during summer months. Admission is free.
The King and the Queen live in the Palace of Laeken and not in the Royal Palace. But it's the residence of the crown prince.
The offices of the King are in the Royal Palace and it's used for receptions, royal audiences,...
in 1731 the Palace burnt to the ground and was rebuilt later in the present neo-classic structure. Although the Palace was modified during French, Dutch and Austrian rule, the buildings remained essentialy the same until Leopold II.
It's open during the summer from Mid-July to begin of September (closed on Mondays) from 10.30 to 16.30. The entrance is free, but there's no guide... you've to find the way on your own ;-)
So enjoy seeing it from the inside as well - it worth it !!
The Royal Palace of Belgium is one of the most beautiful official buildings in the capital, Brussels.
Standing opposite the Parliament building on the other side of the Royal Park, the Royal Palace symbolises our system of government, that is to say, a constitutional monarchy. The Palace is the place where the King exercises his prerogatives as Head of State. It is at the Palace that the King grants audiences and deals with affairs of state. Apart from the offices of the King and the Queen, the Royal Palace houses the services of the Grand Marshal of the Court, the King's Head of Cabinet, the Head of the King's Military Household and the Intendant of the King's Civil List. The Palace also includes the State Rooms where large receptions are held, as well as the apartments provided for foreign Heads of State during official visits.
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.
July 21 is Belgium National day. Every year, we celebrate it. Many concerts used to ignite parks and popular spots in Brussels, for instance. Fireworks and military procession at Royal Palace areas are not be missed.
2003 edition is a particular one since King Albert II is celebrating his 10-year reign.
Belgium is preparing this celebration. Up to now, we know that events will animate several spots. Belgian artists will perform within the field of "Concert de A à Z", for instance.
Even more, bicycle parades, motorbike and roller parades will be arranged to let people celebrate it their own way. There will be some stands to enable you to taste Belgian specialties. Kiddies will have their own stuffs too.
Check following URL to know about events, locations. I will give further update on transportation conditions. Up to now, I know that SNCB/NMBS (train) will arrange special schedule for people from provinces who attend Bxl events.
So far, in Dutch, French, German.
"Is dit Belgisch? C'est du belge!"
"Is dit Belgisch?" (: Is it Belgian?") is the question that a Flemish guy would ask to his neighhbour at Roland-Garros (where the 2 finalists in women single tournament were both Belgian, Justine Hénin- Hardenne and Kim Clijsters). And his walloon neigbour would answer "C'est du belge!" (: It is Belgian!). It seems that Belgians are not really aware of their success and quality and that makes them ask such questions. Well, it's a bit picturesque of this "little country", of course! But I find that true.
Prior to the celebration, you will see billboards with this notice with card play. Why card play, would you ask? Because Belgians use to enjoy playing cards with friends and beer glasses (or no glass at all in student circles). And after all, this is the King and Queen's celebration. Royal family members will participate too.
Pic of "Royal cow" looking at her Royal palace from her Royal Park. Belgian humour!
The Royal Palace
This is the Office where work our King Albert II (Every day? As we all?) (Joke)
Like the Palace of Academies neighbouring buildings are neo-classical. It is the work of architect Henri Maquet who led the work from 1904 to 1912.
Vinçotte Thomas is the author of the statue of Leopold II on horseback (second king of the Belgium)
C'est le cabinet de travail de notre Roi Albert II (Chaque jour? Comme nous le faisons tous?) (blague)
Tout comme le palais des Académies voisin, les bâtiments sont néo-classique. C'est l'œuvre de l'architecte Henri Maquet qui conduisit les travaux de 1904 à 1912.
Thomas Vinçotte est l'auteur de la statue de Léopold II à cheval(second roi des Belges)
It is free of charge.. I think it is worth the visit. You can see what a real king's palace is. Very typique! But funny to visit.
When the flag is up, the King is in the country, if not he is outside of Belgium.
It is only open and free of charge during July and August! Check the dates to be sure...