Designed by King Leopold II's architect, Alphonse Ballat (who was also Horta's teacher), the royal greenhouses are one of the most important 19th century monuments in Belgium. They are entirely built in glass and iron and house a wide botanical collection. Certain plants still belong to the original plantation ordered by King Leopold who ruled over Belgium between 1865 and 1909. At that time, Congo was a Belgian colony and the King brought back a few exotic species from there (but also from other countries) to have them planted in his greenhouses.
Visit Laeken Royal Greenhouses for its tropical species (orchids, palmtrees, fern species... ) and also superb azaleas...
Laeken Greenhouses are also worth the glance regarding architecture. Glass and iron used together to give Greenhouses their Art Nouveau style.
If you plan to visit (return to) Brussels from 22/04/2005 to 15/05/2005 (and each year at the same period!!), you can visit Royal greenhouses of Laeken. You can check pics here: http://jp.pinguet.free.fr/html/155.htm
This is the time to see Laeken Greenhouses as they are only open for visit once a year, at the same period... so ...
2005 opening hours:
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays: 9h30 -16h00
Fridays: 13h00 - 16h00 & 20h00 - 23h00
Saturdays and Sundays: 09h30 - 16h00 & 20h00 - 23h00
Closed on Mondays
April 26: for handicaped and less valid persons only. Only on April 26 would be access for wheel-chairs and less valid persons. Those persons have to accompanied by 2 valid persons.
What makes it even more special are enchanting night sessions. Night sessions (Nocturnes) : from 8 to 11 p.m on fridays, saturdays and sundays.
NB: Picture was taken by and belongs to Thierry Willemsens (I have his permission to use it)
Way back in 1874 King Leopold II wished to turn the capital of his country into a city worthy of international acclaim. So he decided to construct on the palace grounds a city of glass, a series of 16 huge interconnected greenhouses. The immense, yet delicate, glass-and-iron dome of the Winter Garden dominates the complex. Other structures include the junglelike Palm House, the brick Palm Tree Pavilion, the Congo Greenhouse (named for the colony - the Congo Free State - that Leopold acquired and so harshly administered) and two charming follies, a Chinese pavilion and a 131-foot-high Japanese pagoda.
Once a year, usually the last week of April and the first week of May, the greenhouses are open to the public to let them enjoy the exuberant displays of thousands upon thousands of flowers - azaleas, hydrangeas, fuchsias, geraniums, 200 varieties of camellias and hundreds of other plants - painstakingly choreographed to bloom simultaneously. The Royal Greenhouses are located at Avenue du Park Royal 61 in Laeken/Brussels. General admission fee is € 2,50 - children 18 and under are free. The fees go toward the restoration and acquisition of artworks for the Royal Collection.
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC DURING 2 WEEKS: IN 2008 FROM APRIL 19 UNTIL MAY 12.
Opening hours: every day except Monday from 9.30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Evening visits are possible from Friday until Sunday from 8 until 11 p.m.