Sunday, March 16, 2014

Evening Walks in Brussels, Belgium

Hi and welcome. This is the second post from my visit to Brussels in late February. Two evening walks, both of which ended in the Grand Place. No photos of the Grand Place today as my last post was dedicated to it. You can find the photos here:  Enjoy the walk!

Brussels the capital, is the largest city of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union (EU). Lots of squares with some garden area in Brussels

Brussels has grown from a 10th-century fortress town founded by a descendant of Charlemagne to a sizeable city. The city has a population of 1.2 million and a metropolitan area with a population of over 1.8 million

I was working during the day but free late afternoon on both the nights I was there. This is Théâtre Royal du Parc. It was built in 1782

This building is tucked away behind the Theatre. I don't know what it is but it is very intriguing. If you know please leave a comment. Thanks!

Palace of the Nation, seat of the Belgian Federal Parliament

Walking toward the historical centre of Brussels

Imposing building!

The Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula is a Roman Catholic church on the Treurenberg Hill. The church was given cathedral status in February 1962 and has since been the co-cathedral of the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels, together with St. Rumbold's Cathedral in Mechelen

I don't know who this is. If you do, can you leave a comment for me? Thanks!

Since the end of the Second World War, Brussels has been a principal centre for international politics. Hosting principal EU institutions and the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the city has become the polyglot home of numerous international organisations, politicians, diplomats and civil servants

I'm getting close to the Centre now. Lovely buildings illuminated
Historically Dutch-speaking, Brussels has seen a major shift to French since Belgian independence in 1830. Today, although the majority language is French, the city is officially bilingual

This is the end of the first walk

 the Eropean Parliament's Visitors' Centre

Just up from the Parlamentarium

The Place du Luxembourg (French) or Luxemburgplein (Dutch) is a square in the European Quarter. It is better known by local European bureaucrats and journalists by one of its nicknames, "Place Lux" or "Plux"

Getting close now to the Royal Palace

The Royal Palace of Brussels (Dutch: Koninklijk Paleis van Brussel is the official palace of the King and Queen of the Belgians in the centre of the capital. However it is not used as a royal residence, as the king and his family live in the Royal Palace of Laeken on the outskirts of Brussels

"The Palace is where His Majesty the King exercises his prerogatives as Head of State, grants audiences and deals with affairs of state. Apart from the offices of the King and the Queen, the Royal Palace houses the services of the Grand Marshal of the Court, the King's Head of Cabinet, the Head of the King's Military Household and the Intendant of the King's Civil List. The Palace also includes the State Rooms where large receptions are held, as well as the apartments provided for foreign Heads of State during official visits."

Clock Tower of St. Jacobs

Lovely square

The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) is a music museum in central Brussels. It is part of the Royal Museums for Art and History and internationally renowned for its collection of over 8000 instruments. The museum's current location, as of 2000, is in the former Old England department store, built in 1899 by Paul Saintenoy out of girded steel and glass in the art nouveau style as well as an 18th-century neo-classic building designed by Barnabé Guimard


.....always a winner

Square – Brussels Meeting Centre is the name of a convention centre. It is run by the GL Events group and situated in cultural and historic district of Brussels near the national and international institutions, overlooking the city from the hillside of the Mont des Arts

Handsome couple

Getting closer to the centre

Gorgeous light.......

.....makes it hard to stop.....

......taking shots

Looking back

I leave you with this lovely building. Thanks to Wikipedia as always. Hope to see you soon

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

La Grand Place from Dusk to Dark, Brussels, Belgium

Welcome to my blog. A couple of weeks ago I traveled to Brussels on a business trip. I had two evenings to walk and take photos. It was my first time in Brussels. Somehow I had managed to miss seeing any photos or video footage of La Grand Place. I stepped into the square and was rooted to the spot. It took my breath away. Enjoy the photos.

The Spire of the Town Hall lit up by the setting sun......

......beckons you to La Grand Place.....

.....and here it is!
The square is the most important tourist destination and most memorable landmark in Brussels. It measures 68 by 110 metres (223 by 361 ft), and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The public and private buildings in the square date mainly from the late 17th century
Guildhalls on La Grand Place

Just lovely!

The square from a different perspective

A cluster of private buildings on the west side of the square

From 1504 to 1536 the Duke of Brabant built a large building across from the city hall as symbol of ducal power. It was built on the site of the first cloth and bread markets, which were no longer in use, and it became known as the King's House (Middle Dutch: 's Conincxhuys), although no king has ever lived there. It is currently known as the Maison du roi (King's House) in French, though in Dutch it continues to be called the Broodhuis (Breadhouse), after the market whose place it took

The Brussels City Hall was built on the south side of the square in stages between 1401 and 1455, and made the Grand Place the seat of municipal power. It towers 96 metres (315 ft) high, and is capped by a 3 metre (12 ft) statue of Saint Michael slaying a demon

The Grand Place was voted the most beautiful square in Europe in 2010. A survey by a Dutch website ( asked its users to rate different squares across Europe. Moscow’s Red Square and the Place Stanislas in Nancy, France, took second and third place
Night gathers pace and lights illuminate the beauties of La Place

The Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall), which covers most of the south side of the Grand Place, consists of a group of buildings around a rectangular internal courtyard. The part facing on to the square is from the 15th century, consisting of two L-shaped buildings. The entire facade is decorated with statues dating from the 19th century

Dusk turns.....

.....into dark...

The Monument Everard 't Serclaes. One of the greatest works of Julien Dillens (1849-1904). It is badly damaged (it's meant to be black) and will be restored

The architecture is from 3 different eras (Baroque, Gothic and Louis XIV)  giving it an eclectic but still harmonious flavour

Historically, the Grand Place was essentially a market place where traders and citizens sold and bought food. Therefore you will notice that all the streets surrounding the square are named after foods like chicken (poulet), herbs (herbes), and cheese (fromage)

In 1523 the first Protestant martyrs, Hendrik Voes and Jan Van Essen, were burned by the Inquisition in the square

Every two years since 1986, La Place is covered on August 15 with a splendid and ephemeral flowers carpet of 1.800 square metres, made up of a million colourful begonias, which attracts thousands of visitors coming from the whole world

The following morning I travelled to Amsterdam and then back to Singapore

I loved my time in this gorgeous square

and found it hard to drag myself away
Next time I'll take you on a walk so you can see other parts of this lovely city