Le Palais de Justice de Bruxelles
Le Palais de Justice de Bruxelles is part of the Tentative list of Belgium in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
The Palace of Justice of Brussels is a monumental court building from 1862. At the time of its construction it was the largest building in the world. It was built in an eclectic style by the Belgian architect Joseph Poelaert, who was also responsible for the interior decoration.
Map of Le Palais de Justice de BruxellesLoad map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
The Palais de Justice is impressive in many ways. First its pure size. Then its pomp with golden dome with a crown on top. Then the rather odd mix of greek, roman, assyrian and other elements the make a kind of slightly grotesque Piranesian mix. When you enter you see first the huge and tall main hall. If you decide to explore the building further you can get (without ever opening any of the many "no entry" doors) to the strangest places. Long hallways with statues on the side, a huge entrée d'honneur with big stairs and arches that seems unused for decades as dirt, mold and spider webs indicate. Or you can get to an attic, a basement with hardly repaired old pipes. You can find a sphinx looking at you, or broken furniture lying around, even barbed wire barring a neoclassical hallway. And when you think you are in a part that hasn't been used for a long time you find a simple sheet of paper at a door that lists office hours. You can find empty tunnels and winding steps and from time to time you see somebody sitting in an office or hear talk in the hallway. It is a kafkaesque monster, very impressive, often ugly. A dark, deteriorating place, fascinating but certainly not the place where you would trust to be given justice.
An enormous Neoclassical building that was considered pompous even for its time! It is a very big and impressive building that you can visit for free at the normal opening hours of the court. It is in the centre of Brussels and I was not the only tourist around, although most visitors were mostly concerned with justice administration.
I live quite close to the Palais de Justice and pass by almost every day. It has been under restoration for the past 4-5 years. Apart from the golden dome, I think the highlight can be found just in front of this site - a panoramic view of Brussels including the Grand Place, Kukelberg and the Atomium
2008 Added to Tentative List
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