"You musn't miss the Palace Of Justice." my buddy reminded me as he drove me around the city on my first evening around Brussels. "You'll get a great view", he again reminded me.
I hit Brussels on a Monday, depriving me of all the museums. (Damn, I really wanted to see Pieter Bruegel the Senior's collection). By the late afternoon, I was almost done with all the places I had wanted to see, so I heeded my buddy's advice.
The nearest tram stop was Louise though I made it on foot by navigating my way through the many alleys from the Cathedrale. There was a lift connecting one of the alleys which brought me several levels up to where the Palace is. From this spot, one could actually get a view of the city (free!), albeit at roof level. I could spy the Atomium in the distance.
The Palace Of Justice was built between 1860 and 1880 by Joseph Poelaert in Eclectic style. It is believed to be the biggest building constructed in the 19th century in the world. It is situated on top of a hill, which was called "gallows hill" in the Middle Ages. The dimensions of the palace are awesome: it is 105 m high and covers a total surface of 24.000 square meters. It dominates the view on the southern part of Brussels; at close distance, it even blocks out the sun.
The Palace alas like the Atomium was closed for renovation during the time I was in Brussels and many areas were not accessible. Still, it did little to take away the fact how staggering big the place is!
It still functions as the supreme court of law for Belgium today.
The Supreme Court of Brussels is a very large and imposing building. A friend who lives in the city told me that it symbolizes the strength and power of justice...it's meant to scare people into obeying the law! The interior of the building is just as grand as the exterior, with soaring arches and mosaic tiles. There are no tours of the building, but it is possible to listen in on some civil cases.
Beside the Supreme Court building is a lookout point. From here you can look over most of the city, and you can see all the way to Atomium.
The Law Courts (le Palais de Justice) is the largest monument in Europe, covering 26.000 m². It dominates the Sablon and Marolles neighbourhoods.
The building was erected on what is known as Gallows Hill, where Brussels' gallows once stood.
At the 4 corners of this amazing building, you can see the statues representing Justice, Clemency, Strength and Law. It took Joseph Poelaert 17 years (between 1866 and 1883) to make them.
The Palace of Justice is said by many to be the ugliest building in Europe. I disagree strongly, but then again I wasn't thrown out of my home to make space for the gigantic monster.
When it was built, many people were displaced to clear the site. It was built on a hill with a great view over what used to be one of the poorer areas of Brussels, so that people could always see it and be reminded of the presence and power of the law, always watching, watching!
It's architecture is inspired by greek temples and Egyptian tombs. The building itself is quite imposing and serious-looking, but fun to explore. You can go inside and sit under a huge dome, and hear all the footsteps and whispers of the people working there. The atmosphere is really something.
And seriously. The Palace of Justice looks and sounds like the headquarters of a league of superheros, don't you think?
This is one of those monstrous buildings that governments liked to build in the 19th century to impress the people and eachother, but it is supposedly the biggest. Architect Joseph Poelaert designed it, as many other buildings in this city. I cannot really say I like it for its beauty, but I recommend a visit anyway. It's on top of a hill and you have a great view over the city. An elevator will take you down to the Marollen neighbourhood.
This place will take your breath away if you like old architecture, its just big and the statues inside remind you old good thinkers, I sometimes imagine that I could talk with Socrates trough those statues...I leave them as a surprise for when you go...sorry.
Poelaertplein, the upper part of Brussels, where you see the Palace of Justic in a eclectic style.
It was designed by Poelaert. An architect that went totally bizar!
He was in the jury when there was an application for designing this building, but no one of the candidates succeeded... and then in lesser then 2 weeks Poelaert came up with a finnished plan.
He also could make it officially that he alone had everything to say about every detail in the building, every design.
He started to change his plans on a regular schedule, driving the people who tried to realize them almost mad themselves.
Finally they were considering of boycotting him... but he had the plans so he got the power and they couldn't do anything but obbey to his grotesk wishes.
If not, he treathened to burn the plans!
They realized the building but with a different roof on the tower then planned. Afterwards that got destroyed by a fire and it got renewed with a bigger one then the original.
Poelaert locked himself up and died, isolated and totally insane.
The spot of the 'palace of justice' was well chosen.
It had to overlook the Marollen... the neighbourhood of the simple and poor (and there fore more likely to be criminal people) so that they would look up to justice and the power of the law from there little houses beneath...
yep... that was how the notabele thought that time about the ordinary people!
More pictures about the Courthouse are in my travelogues
Justitiepaleis was built in XIXth century (1866-1883) during the rule of King Leopold II. He instructed one of his favourite architects, Joseph Poelaert (1811-1879), to build a Palace of Justice on Galgenveld (Gallows Field, where criminals used to be hanged). At that time it was for a long time the world's largest building.
This immense building is built on the Poelaertplaats and is 105m high and it is allowed to climb to the top.
The building was built by architect Poelaert between 1866 and 1884, and was at that time the highest building of Europe.
Architect Poelaert became mentally ill and died before the building was finished.
On the border between the "Sablon" district and the "Marolles" district. The Palace of Justice was built at the end of the 19th century by Joseph Poelaert ( the same architect as the Congress Column)
The palace houses the supreme court of law in Belgium
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