The Palace of the Nation (French: Palais de la Nation, Dutch: Paleis der Natie, German: Palast der Nation) is a neoclassical palace in Brussels, Belgium, housing the Belgian Federal Parliament.

Palace of the Nation
Front view of the Palace of the Nation seen from the Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat
Map
General information
Architectural styleNeoclassical
AddressPlace de la Nation / Natieplein 2
Town or cityB-1008 City of Brussels, Brussels-Capital Region
CountryBelgium
Coordinates50°50′49″N 4°21′54″E / 50.84694°N 4.36500°E / 50.84694; 4.36500
Current tenantsBelgian Federal Parliament
Construction started1778 (1778)
Completed1783 (1783)
Other information
Public transit access

The palace was built from 1778 to 1783 to a neoclassical design by the French architect Gilles-Barnabé Guimard and includes sculptures by Gilles-Lambert Godecharle. Under Austrian rule, it housed the Sovereign Council of Brabant before being used as a courthouse during the French period. During the Dutch period, it was one of two homes of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, the other being in The Hague. Following Belgian independence in 1830, the Provisional Government of Belgium and Belgian National Congress moved into the building and the first session of the Chamber of Representatives and Senate was held there a year later.[1]

The building stands across the street from Brussels Park's northern entrance, near the site of the former palace of the Dukes of Brabant, which was destroyed by fire in 1731, and has itself been badly damaged by fire, in 1820 and 1883.[2] In the 1930s, a bunker was built underneath the park, connected by tunnels to the House of Parliament. This area is served by Brussels Central Station, as well as by the metro stations Parc/Park (on lines 1 and 5) and Arts-Loi/Kunst-Wet (on lines 1, 2, 5 and 6).

History edit

Austrian Netherlands edit

The initial building, which was then called the Palace of the Council of Brabant (French: Palais du Conseil du Brabant),[3] was built between 1778 and 1783, during the time of the Austrian Netherlands, to the plans of the French architect Gilles-Barnabé Guimard.[1]

At the time, it consisted of three parts:

The pediment of the central part is decorated with a bas-relief by the sculptor Gilles-Lambert Godecharle, which represents Justice punishing Vices and rewarding Virtues.[2]

United Kingdom of the Netherlands edit

The central body of the building was transformed in 1816–1818 by the architect Charles Vander Straeten [fr] to house the States General established by King William I of the Netherlands.[1] The hemicycle built for this occasion at the rear burned down in 1820 and was rebuilt in 1821–22 by Vander Straeten.[2]

Kingdom of Belgium edit

 
The Palace of the Nation in the late 19th century

The Chamber edit

In 1831, after Belgian independence, the building, merged with the palaces of the Chancellery and the Chamber of Accounts, took the name of Palace of the Nation (French: Palais de la Nation, Dutch: Paleis der Natie, German: Palast der Nation).[4] The semicircular hall built by Vander Straeten has since housed the Chamber of Representatives.[1]

In 1883, the Chamber was ravaged by a second fire and it took the architect Henri Beyaert three years, until 1886, to rebuild it.[5]

The Senate edit

In 1847–1849, a second hemicycle was built by the architect Tilman-François Suys to house the Senate. It was enlarged in 1902–03 by Gédéon Bordiau.[2]

Gallery edit

See also edit

References edit

Citations edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Mardaga 1993, p. 335.
  2. ^ a b c d "Palais de la Nation – Inventaire du patrimoine architectural". monument.heritage.brussels (in French). Retrieved 17 September 2023.
  3. ^ Mardaga 1989, p. XXVI.
  4. ^ Mardaga 1989, p. XLVII.
  5. ^ Mardaga 1989, p. 129.

Bibliography edit

External links edit