The law courts of the Palais de Justice were commissioned by King Leopold ll. Constructed between 1866 - 83 and designed by the architect Joseph Poelaert who subsequently died from exhaustion. Designed intentionally to dwarf all other buildings in a mix of styles borrowed from nearly every period of Belgian architecture. Built on the site of the former gallows (well they do say Justice will follow through) the law courts became a symbol of Belguims industrial and colonial achievements. When we visited, the building was under massive restoration more or less obscuring all details with scaffolding. The spledid dome was restored so at least one picture shows the beauty of the courts.
Open Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm closed July guided tours are by written request only admission free unless of course you happen to be on trial here!
Opened in June 2002, at a cost of some 2 million euros, a lift will transport you directly up from the Marolles to the palais de Justice, or conversely, down from the Palais de Justice to the Maroles. Certainly not for you if you suffer from vertigo, but a pleasure otherwise, as the 2 cabins are glazed completely, allowing passengers to take in the amazing panorama of the city.
There is no entry charge: yes you did understand correctly: it is completely free of charge. It's not even staffed. It is supervised via a series of surveillance cameras by the STIB, the authority in charge of public transport in Brussels.
It is open from 6 am to 11 pm and the journey takes all of 30 seconds to cover the full 20 metres.
It's well worth the hike up to the Palais de Justice. From the Parapet, you will have the most marvellous panorama across the whole city.
This photo shows what you will find looking straight down: the brightly coloured renovated facades of the bustling Marolles area, today the home of the flea-market, but traditionally the place where the real Buxellois come from.
From here you should also be able to spot the roof-tops of the Grand' Place and further over, even the Atomium. It looks straight across to the other mammoth building in the centre: the Basilique at Koekelberg.
It's usually quite hard to get a decent photo of this panorama unless you arrive early in the morning, or in the evening.
An extravagant and bold allegory for the emphasis placed on Justice in the recently-established Belgian nation, the Palais de Justice is a mammoth of a building that dominates the upper town skyline when viewed from below, indeed from many points in the city. Its construction began in 1866 and was not completed for 20 years, some 4 years after the death of its architect, Poelaert, who gives his name to the square upon which it sits.
With a total surface area of some 26,000 m square, it is larger than St Peter's in Rome, and indeed was the largest building constructed in the continent during the 19th century. I'm not a great one for details and figures, but this place does deserve some statistics to convey it's sheer immensity. Inside you can find no fewer that 8 courts of 6,000 m square.
Such a building could only have been the dream of a megalomaniac - and so it was. It was at the behest of Leopold II that construction was commenced, yes he who created also the Belgian empire with the purchase of the Congo - itself a mammoth undertaking.
The location of the Palais de Justice was no accident. Sitting proudly above Brussel's most ancient neighbourhood, the Marolles, also its poorest, it served as a reminder to simple folk of what awaited them should they fail to toe the line! Indeed it sits on the site that for centuries was used for executions.
On 20 October 1996, 300,000 ordinary people, parents, children, grandparents amassed in the centre of Brussels and followed 4 families through the centre of the city in a dignified and serene expression of outrage, disappointment and deception. The white flowers they carried, the white clothes they wore and the white balloons that bobbed above their heads provided the visual expression of a silence that was deafening to all who watched or took part, and gave the name to the demonstration: the White March.
The March was called for by the parents of four young girls who had been abducted and killed by members of a child pornography ring; a crime for which Marc Dutroux hit the headlines, and is still awaiting the completion of the legal case. As if the disappearance and the cruel deaths of the four young girls were not enough, the case began to reveal suspicions of protection at the highest level of the accused.
In memory of all lost children this shrine has remained ever since then. It is meaningfully positioned across the way from the plaque to justice that you see in the photo above. There are always fresh flowers and always, regrettably, photographs of missing young people. Spend a few minutes in reflection of all young people who suffer from abuse and cruelty.
At the end of the Regentschapstraat, I finally arrived at the Poelaert Square.
Here you can see the big Palace of Justice.
This is also one of the higher points of Brussels, in fact this hill is named the Galgenberg (Gallows mountain) - as this was the place were the city gallows was standing. They could not have choosen a better place to build their Palace of Justice.
This palace of Justice is built in 1866 - 1883 and was designed by architect Joseph Poelaert.
Inside the Place of Justice, just up the stairs at the entrance, against the left wall, there is a remembrance place for the Missing Children.
The site is a kind of charge against the Belgian Justice, because they did not do enough to search for these missing children.
It is also a kind of remembrance place so that no one would forget the terrible things that happened with some of these children.
In front of the Palais de Justice (Palace of Justice), on the big square, Poelaert square, there is a big monument.
It is the monument for the remembrance of the Belgian infantry.
In honour to remember the soldier which fought on both World Wars (1914 - 18; 1940 - 45)
We were stunned at the size of the Palace of Justice, just how many criminals does Brussels have? Sitting atop a hill known as "gallows hill" where they executed people back in the middle ages, the Palace of Justice was a project of Leopold II and is purportedly larger than St. Peter's in Rome! It's placement overlooking the Marolles, the poorest neighborhood in Brussels, was intentional, a looming reminder of what fate had in store for you if you didn't behave.
The architect, Joseph Poelaert, died during it's construction and legend says that witchcraft played a hand in his death from the many Marolles residents evicted in order to buildthe massive law courts.
We passed by here on a Saturday when the building was closed, the guidebook says you can visit the interior for free on Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm (or 9am-11:30am and 1:30pm-3pm if you believe my other guidebook). You can take the glass elevator from Place Breugel to Place Poelaert and vice versa get a nice view over Brussels, also free.
"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.
This huge, no enormous building is a monstrosity in buildingstyles, but impressive in being. Standing in front of it's gates, one can imagine how an ant feels looking at the average frontdoor of a simple house. This building belongs to the largest in the world and is in Europe's top three. It houses the justitional departments of Belgium and the highest court. As Belgium had it's share of sad cases (especially the pedofilian things that happened the last decade) and here are often demonstration of citizens that want justice to be done.
The Palais de Justice was designed by Joseph Poelaert and built between 1866 and 1893 on the hill where the gallows stood in medieval times. Covering a larger area than St. Peter's in Rome, this building was that largest constructed in Brussels during the 19th century.
Real Brussels atmosphere market place (every day 'till noon) where you can meet the old city people who still speak the real Brussels language. A mix of French and Flemish (Dutch). Unfortunately this area is being modernized... so hurry... also good to see how other nationalities do or don't integrate...
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
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.