The eclectic Palais de Justice was built on an area known as Gallows Hill (as criminals were routinely hanged here during the middle ages). Around 3,000 houses were demolished to make way for the building that is larger than St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, spanning around 260,000 square feet (24,000 square meters). Most Brussels sightseeing tours at least pass by or make a stop in front of the building.
Things to know before you go
- The Palais de Justice is a must-visit for anyone with an interest in architecture.
- Most tours only visit the exterior of the building.
- Admission to the Palais de Justice is free.
How to get there
The closest train station is Louise and tram number 92, which travels past the Royal Palace, also stops nearby. Alternatively, there’s a great glass elevator that will take you from Place Bruegel in the Marolles to Place Poelaert and also delivers great views of the city on the way.
When to get there
The interiors of the Palais de Justice are open Monday through Friday during the daytime, except for on public holidays. It's worth visiting pretty much any time of day, but if you want a photo of the gargantuan structure that doesn't include throngs of tourists, it's best to visit at the crack of dawn, when crowds are few.
The Crooked Architect
With the construction of the Palais de Justice came lots of displacement, and around 3,000 homes in the working-class Maroles neighborhood were razed to make room for the gargantuan construction. Poelaert was soon dubbed De Skieven Architek, which means “crooked architect,” likely a corruption of the Flemish term for “chief architect
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