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.
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.
It's huge, it's grand! (26,000 sq. meters!)
The size of the building is just increadible! Standing at the entrance door I felt myself like an ant at the bottom of an ant hill.
I tried to make the pic of the Palace, so it fited the shot but failed. I guess there are some secret spots in Brussels, from where one can picture that building in whole but I didn't find them :(((
This huge building certainly features heavily in Brussels' skyline as it can be seen from almost any vantage point in the city. It is built on the huge scale occupying an area larger than that of St Peter's Basilica in Rome, and was one of the world's most impressive 19th century buildings. It was built between 1866 and 1883 by architect Joseph Poelaert who looked for inspiration in classical temples, but sadly died mid-construction in 1879. The building is still home to the city's law courts. The building is currently (and has been for quite some time), being renovated.
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.
The law courts were constructed in the late 1800's. The building dwarfs all the surrounding structures and was built with a multitude of architectural styles. It was built on the site of the former town gallows. It also contains a memorial to the missing children of Belgium, which can't help but give you the shivers, especially if you are a parent.
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?
Our hotel wasn't located too far from here and it is an incredibly grand building - just a shame it was half covered in scaffolding on our visit.
I am not too sure whether you can venture inside but it is certainly worth having a look at it from an architectural perspective (hopefully the scaffolding will be off soon)
You will also see that there are wonderful views across the city (assuming there is no fog!) a skip away from the Palais de Justice - worth a visit in its own rights!
As the facade was under repair when I visited it in december 2006, I couldn't fully appreciate the full glory of this building but got speechless when I entered it. The inside is so grand...I felt intimidated and did not take any pictures of the inside.
There is a postoffice on the right inside of the building. From there, have a look at the grand Graeco-Roman style staircases.
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 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. Nowadays it still functions as the supreme court of law for Belgium.
This gigantic edifice dominates the area. It 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. The palace of justice 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 still functions as the supreme court of law for Belgium.
A vast neoclassical monstrosity of a building, like the remains of some huge silent movie set.... waiting for Norma Desmond's return.
Visit the Palace of Justice and you can wander between columns like Gloria Swanson - nay - the Queen of Sheba for the day !
The design of this great building is extraodinary and unique. The architect's bizarre, and unfortunate, style of decoration and orniment was probably intended to be "modern". But all its failings in style and form it can be forgiven as it achieves grand three dimensional spaces which are something worth enjoying !
Between screens of double columns great stone staircases sweep up to nowhere at all, other than to provide a view of more columns and another staircase to knowhere.
The scaffolding covering the crumbling dome/lantern creats a wonderful internal gloomyness, which compliments rather than highlights the dilapidated great central space. And what a central space ! Sweeping majestic staircases rise between monumental pillars, leading you to a grand gallery with spaces and courtrooms leading off in all directions.
There are also great views across the city from the square and terrace in front of the courthouse, and a scenic outdoor lift.
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.
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