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Taking a look at the Royal Palace in Brussels

The current facade dates from around 1900, but the Royal Palace in Brussels was built on the foundations of Coudenberg Palace, which dated back to the Middle Ages. It was the home of the Dukes of Brabant and their successors. This complex was destroyed by fire in 1731, but the remains can still be visited below the Royal Palace.

Photo by Moniek Bloks

It wasn’t until 1775 that the current building was built on top of the ruined palace. As Belgium was under Dutch rule until 1830, the building was designed as a residence for the Prince of Orange, later King William II of the Netherlands. After the Belgian Revolution, the palace was offered to the new King Leopold I. He mainly used the palace for official receptions and preferred to live in the Royal Palace of Laeken and little was changed to the palace. His successor, King Leopold II, felt the palace was too small, and he worked on enlarging the palace until his death in 1909. During his lifetime the current facade was erected.

The last great change happened at the request of Queen Paola. The ceiling of the Mirror Room was covered with 1,6 million jewel-scarab wing cases and the work of art was called Heaven of Delight.

Photo by Moniek Bloks

Photo by Moniek Bloks

The Royal Palace is not the property of the monarch, and it currently houses several services for the Royal Family and it also houses the Royal Archives. It is used as a working palace as the Royal Family lives in Laeken. During official state visits, the visiting heads of state can spend the night there, and official receptions are held there. When the monarch dies, he will lie in state in the Salon of the Thinker. If the monarch is in the country, the flag flies on the middle pavilion, and if he or she is present in the palace the Honour Guard will also guard the palace.

During the summer months, the palace is open to the public, and it can be visited for free.

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