Palais de Justice, Brussels

3.5 out of 5 stars 38 Reviews

Near Place Louise

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • Palais de Justice
    by MichaelFalk1969
  • Palais de Justice
    by lina112
  • Palais de Justice
    by lina112
  • scottishvisitor's Profile Photo

    Palais de Justice

    by scottishvisitor Updated Apr 4, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    2 more images

    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!

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • GillianMcLaughlin's Profile Photo

    Let your fingers do the walking

    by GillianMcLaughlin Updated Apr 11, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Palais de Justice and lift from below

    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.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Trains

    Was this review helpful?

  • GillianMcLaughlin's Profile Photo

    Greatest panorama over Brussels

    by GillianMcLaughlin Written Apr 11, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Place Breughel in the Marolles

    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.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Trains
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • GillianMcLaughlin's Profile Photo

    Less a must-see than a can't avoid seeing...

    by GillianMcLaughlin Updated Apr 11, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Plaque commemorating the construction

    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.

    Related to:
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • GillianMcLaughlin's Profile Photo

    Lest we forget

    by GillianMcLaughlin Written Apr 11, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Memorial to lost innocence

    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.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Trains
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • filipdebont's Profile Photo

    Palace of Justice

    by filipdebont Updated Mar 4, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Palais de Justice

    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.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • filipdebont's Profile Photo

    Remembrance of the Missing Children

    by filipdebont Written Mar 4, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    lets not forget the Missing Children

    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.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • filipdebont's Profile Photo

    War Memorial

    by filipdebont Updated Mar 5, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    War Memorial

    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)

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Palace of Justice (Palais de Justice)

    by Dabs Written Dec 4, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Palace of Justice
    1 more image

    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.

    Was this review helpful?

  • xuessium's Profile Photo

    Do yourself some justice: The Palace Of Justice

    by xuessium Written Mar 25, 2006

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    ThePalaceOfJustice

    "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.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Backpacking
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Pavlik_NL's Profile Photo

    Palace of Justice, enormous giant in town

    by Pavlik_NL Written Aug 13, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The dome of the palace still quite far away

    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.

    Was this review helpful?

  • penumbra's Profile Photo

    Justitiepaleis – Palace of Justice

    by penumbra Written Dec 2, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Palais de Justice
    1 more image

    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.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Bendokan's Profile Photo

    The "Marolles"

    by Bendokan Written May 27, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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...

    Was this review helpful?

  • Mahieu's Profile Photo

    Palais de Justice

    by Mahieu Written May 3, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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

    Related to:
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Sjalen's Profile Photo

    Justice Palace

    by Sjalen Updated Sep 25, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Palace as seen from Les Marolles below

    It was the largest building in the world when it was finished in 1883 and opened by King Leopold II, and I think it might still be the biggest in Europe. It totally dominates the cliff it is built on and that is precisely the point. Below the cliff you find 'les Marolles' which was the poor working-class area of Brussels. There people had to look up to the masters. Today, Marolles is an interesting mix of immigrants and yuppies and loads of interesting small shops but as you wander there, you're still in the shadow of the palace (see picture). A few years ago, during one of the worst pedofile scandals Europe has ever seen, the stairs to the main entrance were filled with flowers, teddy bears and pictures of the children and there is almost always some kind of note about some tragic case or other being dealt with within its huge stone walls. This picture is from before it was restored and got the cupola all gold plated - now it is even easier to spot all over town. If you want to see a smaller copy of it, head for Lima where they've built a replica.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Study Abroad
    • Castles and Palaces

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Brussels

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

106 travelers online now

Comments

Hotels Near Palais de Justice
3.5 out of 5 stars
1 Review
0.2 miles away
Show Prices
4.5 out of 5 stars
2 Reviews
0.2 miles away
Show Prices
4.0 out of 5 stars
0.2 miles away
Show Prices

View all Brussels hotels