13 items tagged "Love Laeken"

  • Church of Our Lady of Laeken (Notre dame de Laeken)

    King Leopold I, the first King of the Belgians, was responsible for having the Church of Our Lady of Laeken (Notre dame de Laeken) and associated Royal Crypt built. In doing so, Leopold I was honouring his second wife – Queen Louise-Marie – who had, before she died, expressed the wish to be buried in Laeken. She died in 1850. Work began in 1854, under the architect Joseph Poelaert. However, he built only the core part of the building before devoting himself to his magnum opus – the imposing Palais de Justice, 1866. The church was consecrated in August, 1872. However, as this postcard shows, the church was not quite finished. This was caused by funding problems and difficulties with the frangible quality of some of the stonework, which necessitated costly repairs.The church was completed in 1907 by the architect Friedrich von Schmidt. He built the porch, the central bell tower and the façade. The bell tower is reputed to be the highest in Belgium.



    Drève Sainte-Anne directly connects the earlier church with the Chapelle Sainte-Anne and its fountain, reputed to have healing powers.The church replaced an earlier medieval church, which had been built around 1275. It was demolished in 1904, except for its “Gothic choir” which can still be seen in Laeken Cemetery, just behind “the Thinker” sculpture.

    According to the Royal Family’s website, the Royal Crypt is the burial place of all reigning Belgian Sovereigns and their wives, as well as certain members of the Belgian Royal Family.


    The Crypt is accessible to the public every Sunday afternoon, as well as on:


    17 February   death of King Albert I
    31 July   death of King Baudouin
    29 August   death of Queen Astrid
    25 September   death of King Leopold III
    1 November   All Saints Day
    15 November   "Koningsfeest - Fête du Roi"
    29 November   death of Prince Alexander
    5 December   death of Queen Fabiola


     Here is a more recent picture:


  • Japanese Tower

    japanese tower     japanese tower2

    King Leopold II saw the Japanese Tower when he visited the 1900 World Fair in Paris. It had been built by a carpenter based in Tokyo and it served as the entrance porch to the Japanese Pagoda at the World Fair.

    The Japanese Tower has 5 roofed storeys representing the five Elements: earth, water, fire, wind and sky from which Buddhists believe all things are created. When the World Fair ended and the temporary structures dismantled and sold, King Leopold bought the Japanese Tower and had it relocated to Laeken.

    The King commissioned the French architect Alexandre Marcel to build a wooden pavilion onto the Japanese tower. This architect was also responsible for building the Chinese Pavilion across the road.

    The external ornamental-work on the Japanese Tower was created by Japanese workers based in Yokohama, and the surrounding gardens contain many Japanese plants. The Japanese Tower opened in 1905. Here  is a postcard sent from Brussels to Nürnberg Bavaria on 14 March 1915. Note the ornamental lanterns hanging from the corners of each roof.

  • le Pavillon Chinois

    Le Pavillon chinois a été commandé par Roi Leopold II en 1901, pour en faire un restaurant pour des hommes d'affaires cherchant à favoriser des liens économiques avec la Chine. Quand il est mort en 1909, le Ministère des Affaires étrangères a repris la responsabilité du Pavillon. Il a été ouvert en 1913, non comme un restaurant, mais comme musée. Les panneaux extérieurs ont été sculptés à Shanghai. L'architecte français Alexandre Marcel a aussi construit ' la tour japonaise ' de l'autre côté de la route. 

    Cette carte postale montrant "le Restaurant chinois" est datée du 30 mars 1915. Elle a été envoyée par un soldat allemand pendant la Grande Guerre à sa famille à Stuttgart.

  • le Penseur

    rodinLaeken cemetery contains an original bronze cast of Rodin's "The Thinker". It was bought in 1927 by Josef Dillen, an art collector, for his sepulchre.

  • Looking for a Christmas Tree?


    Want to support a local business?

    If you are looking for Christmas trees, bio foods or garden centre plants, you might like to know about Ferme nos Pilifs, 347 Trassersweg, 1120 Brussels, very near Laeken, behind the military hospital at Neder-over-Hembeek (Exit 6 on the Ring). There is parking available. It is a sheltered workshop which employs about 140 handicapped people. More details are on the website: www.fermenospilifs.be


  • Parc Reine Astrid


    Le Parc Reine Astrid, situé au carrefour à la fin de la Drève St Anne, est ainsi nommé à la mémoire de la Reine Astrid de Belgique, décédée dans un accident de la route en Suisse en 1935. Elle était née Princesse Astrid de Suède en 1905 et épousa le Prince Léopold de Belgique en 1926. Ils accédèrent au trône en Février 1934, suite au décès soudain du Roi Albert I dans un accident d'escalade dans les Ardennes.astrid2

    Elle eut trois enfants avec Léopold III:

    • Joséphine-Charlotte, née en 1927. Elle devint Grande-Duchesse de Luxembourg. Elle mourut en 2005.
    • Baudouin, né en 1930. Il devint Roi en 1953 suite à l'abdication de son père. Il mourut en 1993.
    • Albert, né en 1934. Il devint Roi en 1993 suite au décès de Baudouin. Albert II abdique en 2013 en faveur de son fils, le Prince Philippe, qui est le Roi actuel.

    Astrid était immensément populaire, elle était aimée pour sa gentillesse, sa douceur et sa simplicité. Sa mort prématurée, à l'âge de 29 ans seulement et laissant derrière elle trois enfants en très bas âge, donna lieu à une énorme manifestation nationale de douleur. Dans toute la Belgique, des hôpitaux, des rues et des écoles portent son nom. C'est le cas de l'École Reine Astrid, à la rue du Wand, à Laeken. L'école scandinave de Bruxelles est nommée officiellement "École Reine Astrid" en son honneur.astrid3

  • Queen Astrid Park

    astridQueen Astrid Park, located at the junction at the end of Drève St Anne, is dedicated to the memory of Queen Astrid of Belgium, who died in a motoring accident in Switzerland in 1935. She was born Princess Astrid of Sweden, in 1905 and married Prince Leopold of Belgium in 1926. They acceded to the throne in February 1934, following the sudden death of King Albert I in a rock-climbing accident in the Ardennes.

    astrid2She and Leopold III had three children:

    • Josephine-Charlotte was born in 1927. She became the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg. She died in 2005. 
    • Baudouin was born in 1930. He became king in 1953 following the abdication of his father. He died in 1993.
    • Albert was born in 1934. He became king in 1993 following Baudouin's death. Albert II abdicated in 2013 in favour of his son Prince Philippe, who is the present king.

    Astrid was tremendously popular, loved for her kindness, gentleness and simplicity of manner. Her untimely death, at the age of just 29 leaving three very young children, led to a huge outpouring of national grief. Throughout Belgium, hospitals, streets and schools are named after her. They include École Reine Astrid in Rue du Wand, Laeken. The Scandinavian School of Brussels is officially named "École Reine Astrid" in her honour.




  • The Chapelle Ste Anne

    Most people will have seen the Chapelle Ste Anne, close to the European School. The current church was built in the 17th Century but has its origins in the 14th Century.


    chapel   chapel2

  • The Chinese Pavilion

    The Chinese Pavilion was commissioned by King Leopold II in 1901, as a restaurant for businessmen seeking to foster economic links with China. When he died in 1909, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs took over responsibility for the Pavilion. It opened in 1913, not as a restaurant but as a museum. The exterior panels were sculpted in Shanghai. The French architect - Alexandre Marcel - also built the 'Japanese tower' across the road.

    This postcard showing the "Chinese Restaurant" is dated 30 March 1915. It was sent by a German soldier during the Great War to his family in Stuttgart.

  • The Dynasty monument

    lovelaekenmonument1This monument, which is also known as the Leopold monument, is dedicated to Leopold the first, who was the first King of Belgium (21 July 1831- 10 December 1865). It was inaugurated on Belgian National Day 21 July 1880. The architect was Louis de Curte. The basic structure consists of nine columns, arranged in a circle. The columns represent what were then the nine provinces of Belgium (In 1995 Brabant was divided into Flemish-Brabant and Walloon-Brabant, so there are now 10 Provinces in Belgium). Each column has a statue depicting that province:

    1. Antwerp (commerce and navigation);
    2. East-Flanders (mills and horticulture);
    3. Brabant (royal sceptre) ;
    4. Limburg (agriculture);
    5. West-Flanders, (fishing);
    6. Hainaut (coal);
    7. Liège (armoury);
    8. Luxembourg (hunting) and;
    9. Namur (metallurgy).

    Each statue was designed by a different sculptor, which gives the monument a certain degree of some individuality and character. The statue of King Leopold I, sculpted by the renowned royal sculptor Guillaume Greefs, is located in the middle of the monument, on a plinth. The arches connecting the nine columns symbolise the unity of the nine provinces, and thus that of Belgium, surrounding and protecting their King. The spire of the monument is modelled on the spire of the town hall in the Grand place.

    In the first photo, you can see that the statue is surmounted by a bronze sculpture “The genius of art” by Guillaume De Groot. It was removed for safety reasons, probably fairly soon after the memorial was inaugurated, as this postcard would tend to indicate:




    The bronze sculpture is now on the roof of the Musee Royaux des Beaux arts.

  • The Thinker

    rodinLaeken cemetery contains an original bronze cast of Rodin's "The Thinker". It was bought in 1927 by Josef Dillen, an art collector, for his sepulchre.

  • Unknown Soldier


    monument1Many people know about the tomb of the unknown French soldier at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. How many people, though, know about the tomb of the unknown French soldier, which can be found here in Laeken? As it is November - the traditional month of remembrance - and as it is also 2014 - the 100th anniversary of the first year of the Great War - some readers may be interested perhaps in knowing more about this unique monument. It is unique because it is the only monument of its type to be found outside of France. The monument is located beside the Church of Notre Dame of Laeken, close to the cemetery gates. Note that the eternal flame in front of the monument is a later addition, dating from 1949. The flame was lit from the eternal flame under the Arc de Triomphe, Paris.

    The monument was built by public subscription to honour the estimated 70,000 French soldiers who died in Belgium during the Great War. The unknown French soldier had died on the battlefields of West Flanders. The monument was inaugurated in July 1927 in the presence of King Albert  and Queen Elisabeth of Belgium and of Raymond Poincaré, who was President of France from 1913-1920.


    This postcard shows the inauguration ceremony (17.07.1927)

    In 2013, a joint German-French ceremony of remembrance was held   at the monument. Some pictures and more information can be found on the French Consulate’s website.

    Nearby is a bust of Ferdinand Foch, Marshal of France, who was the Allied Supreme Commander from March 1918 until the Great War ended in June 1919. It was erected in 1951 to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth.bust2

  • Visite Ecole Européenne - Laeken Découverte - Dimanche 7 Septembre

    Visite guidée de l'école européenne avec Laeken Decouverte le 7 séptembre 2014.

    Départ : Coin place Bockstael et rue Fransman à 14h30

    Participation aux frais de 5 € (gratuit pour les moins de 18 ans), pas de réservation préalable nécessaire.

    Pour plus d'info voir le site web de Laeken Découverte

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