Palace of Brussels

Palace of Brussels

The Royal Palace of Belgium is one of the most beautiful official buildings in the capital, Brussels.

Standing opposite the Parliament building on the other side of the Royal Park, the Royal Palace symbolises our system of government, that is to say, a constitutional monarchy.

The Palace is the place where His Majesty the King exercises his prerogatives as Head of State. It is at the Palace that the King grants audiences and deals with affairs of state.

Apart from housing the offices of the King and the Queen, the Royal Palace also accommodates the services of the Chief of Cabinet to the King, the Intendant of the Civil List of the King, the Chief of the Military Household of the King , the Chief of Protocol of the Court, the Head of the Foreign Relations Department and the Head of the Petitions and Social Affairs Department .

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.

Four contemporary works of art

On the initiative of Her Majesty the Queen and through the good offices of the government's building agency "Régie des Bâtiments - Regie der Gebouwen", three contemporary works of art were installed in the Royal Palace in October 2002.

The following 3 works were chosen in the wake of consultations with an expert advisory board:

"Heaven of Delight" by Jan Fabre

"Heaven of Delight" by Jan FabreThe ceiling and the central chandelier in the Mirror Room, whose construction was interrupted by the death of Leopold II, have been covered with the wing cases of 1.4 million Thai jewel beetles, which reflect the light with a curiously vibrant energy. Jan Fabre and his team of 29 artists spent 3 months all told completing this painstaking task. © Dirk Pauwels

 

Monochrome series by the artist Marthe Wéry

 Monochrome series by the artist Marthe WéryThe uncluttered hall leading to the Kings Office features 7 paintings by Marthe Wéry. These works are sources of purity and clarity that also reflect the light from outdoors. © Dirk Pauwels

 

Portraits by Dirk Braeckman

Portraits by Dirk BraeckmanOn display in the rooms around the Grand Staircase, exuding the stateliness of former times, are 2 life-size portraits of King Albert II and Queen Paola. The gardens of Laken and Brussels can be seen in the background. Four other photographs showing details of the drawing rooms in the Royal Palace add the finishing touch. (copyright photo Dirk Braeckman)

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The Royal Palace's Empire Room was the setting in 2004 for the unveiling of a fourth work of art.

 

"Royal Palace Flowers" by Patrick Corillon

"Royal Palace Flowers" by Patrick CorillonContaining earth from each of the Belgian provinces, 11 golden pots on display in the Empire Room are filled with flowers whose stalks each tell the story of the earth in which they are planted, in all the world's languages. When we read these stories the flower within our hearts begins to open up. (copyright photo Johan Jacobs)

 

Rooms and spaces

Since 1965, it has been traditional for the Royal Palace of Brussels to be accessible to the public each year, so that they can admire the prestigious state rooms laden with history. This tour is available in summer, after the National Holiday on 21 July, until the beginning of September.

 

The Grand Staircase

The Grand StaircaseThis majestic feature, with its imposing proportions, was designed by Alphonse Balat for King Leopold II. The pale walls and the stone columns, the white marble of the enormous staircase, the green marble of the banister, the gilding, the mirrors, the picture windows and the marble Minerva all contribute to the overall impression of harmony.

 

Goya Room

Goya RoomThis room takes its name from the tapestries, "The Dance" and "Blind Man's Buff", woven in Madrid after a drawing by Francisco de Goya. They were presented to King Leopold I by Queen Isabella II of Spain.

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Small White Room

Small White RoomFurnished with Empire chairs, the Small White Room was a wedding present from the King of France, Louis-Philippe to his daughter Louise-Marie and King Leopold I. It is decorated with portraits of Queen Marie-Louise and her parents, King Louis-Philippe and Marie-Amélie de Bourbon.

 

Vase Room

Vase RoomBuilt during the reign of King William I of the Netherlands (1814-1830), this room served as an audience room for the Queen. The current decoration dates from the 1930s when repair work had to be carried out.

The vase that gives the room its name was made in the 19th century by a Berlin porcelain manufacturer. A painting by E. De Biefve depicts the reception of King Leopold I at the Te Deum on 22 July 1831 when he took the oath of office.

 

Large White Room

Large White RoomIn this room, which is part of the oldest section of the Palace, the decoration from the late 18th century is well preserved (particularly the Italian-inspired ornamental grotesques). The Empire furniture, a wedding present from Louis-Philippe, King of France, to his daughter Louise-Marie and to King Leopold I, still carries its original Beauvais tapestry trim.

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Music Room

Music RoomBuilt for the King William I of The Netherlands (1814-1830) as an art galler, fine gifts and objets d'art were exhibited here. The "Paintings Gallery" retained that function during the reign of King Leopold I and King Leopold II.

During the 1930s, the room was given a new purpose and became a music and projection room.
The tapestry, woven in a Paris workshop, dates from the 17th century and represents the triumph of glory.

 

Throne Room

Throne RoomBuilt in the reign of King Leopold II, this room contains bas-reliefs by Auguste Rodin. These represent the eight economic activities which, with one exception, symbolize the provinces of Belgium. The exception is "Brabant" where the Palace is situated. The Scheldt and the Meuse, symbols of Flanders and Wallonia respectively, were carved by Thomas Vinçotte and embellish the top of the doors. Oak and exotic wood parquet, as well as bronze and gilded chandeliers give the prestigious Throne Room an imposing appearance.

 

Grand Hall

Grand HallAn ideal room for holding banquets and receptions, this state room, built during the reign of Leopold II, is adorned with late 19th century furniture. The paintings on the ceiling, works by Léon-Charles Cardon, were inspired by the Louvre and Versailles. They evoke Dawn, Morning, Day and Dusk.

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Mirror Room

Mirror RoomConstruction of this room, which evokes the Congo, was started during the reign of Leopold II. The walls are decorated with marble and copper. King Albert I had the work completed, placing mirrors on the walls, which were originally intended to accommodate allegorical scenes evoking Africa.
In 2002 the ceiling was decorated with more than a million jewel beetle carapaces, a project by the artist Jan Fabre.

 

Blue Room

Blue RoomOriginally an anti-chamber, this room became a dining-room for Court dignitaries, as evidenced by the banquet table. (When the Palace is open to the public, this table is laid with plates, glasses and tableware dating from the early 19th century). The Blue Room accommodates a large number of portraits of Kings and Princes.

 

Marshals' Room

Marshals' RoomOriginally the audience room of King William I of The Netherlands, this room which leads to the Throne Room contains a number of interesting portraits, particularly that of Prince Philippe, Count of Flanders, father of King Albert I, and that of Arch-Duke Maximilian of Austria.

Bibliography

  • André Molitor. The Royal Palace in Brussels. Musea Nostra. Ghent, Crédit Communal & Ludion, 1993.
  • Liane Ranieri. Léopold II urbaniste (Leopold II as town planner). Brussels, Hayez, 1973.
  • Irène Smets. The Royal Palace in Brussels. Ghent, Ludion, 2000.
  • Arlette Smolar et al. Le Palais de Bruxelles (The Palace of Brussels). Huit siècles d'art et d'histoire (Eight centuries of art and history). Brussels, Crédit Communal, 1991.
  • Thierry Van Oppem. 'Aux origines du Palais Royal de Bruxelles, un hôtel ministériel de la fin du XVIIe siècle'. ("The origins of the Royal Palace of Brussels, a late 17th century ministerial mansion"). Maison d'Hier et d'Aujourd'hui, 1991.
  • Anne van Ypersele de Strihou. 'Le Sculpteur François Rude et les architectes Charles Vander Straeten et Tilman-François Suys au Palais royal de Bruxelles' ("The sculptor François Rude and architects Charles Vander Straeten and Tilman-François Suys at the Royal Palace of Brussels"). Maison d'Hier et d'Aujourd'hui, 1989.
  • Anne van Ypersele de Strihou. 'Auguste Rodin au Palais de Bruxelles' ("Auguste Rodin at the Palace of Brussels"). Maison d'Hier et d'Aujourd'hui, 1990.
  • Anne van Ypersele de Strihou. 'La décoration de la Grande Galerie du Palais royal de Bruxelles, de Louis XIV à Léopold II' ("The decoration of the Grand Hall of the Royal Palace of Brussels, from Louis XIV to Leopold II"), Maisons d'Hier et d'Aujourd'hui, 1993.

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