Photo Essay – A Royal Visit

Once a year, the Royal Palace of Brussels opens its doors to the public. This usually happens during July and August, for the duration of more or less a month. By the way, this palace has a ceremonial function; the royals themselves live in the Royal Palace of Laken (which is never open). Or as the official website of the Belgian royals states:

The Palace is where His Majesty the King exercises his prerogatives as Head of State, grants audiences and deals with affairs of state. Apart from the offices of the King and the Queen, the Royal Palace houses the services of the Grand Marshal of the Court, the King’s Head of Cabinet, the Head of the King’s Military Household and the Intendant of the King’s Civil List. 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.

Although the facade, which dates from 1900, is longer than that of Buckingham Palace, the Royal Palace covers less ground (about 33.000 m²).

First up is the breathtaking Grand Staircase.

Once you arrive on the first floor, you can admire the Large Anteroom and the Empire Room.

Afterwards, you can have a look in the Small and the Large White Drawing Room.

One of our favourite places was the Venice Staircase.

Then, you follow the crowds in the Goya Room, the Coburg Room, the Louis XIV Room, the Pillar Room and the Marshal’s Room.

Most of the paintings, by the way, are state portraits, but Queen Paola also added modern art, especially by Michaël Borremans.

Prepare to be impressed by the Throne Room. The multimedia installations, that you can see in the background, were part of an exhibition called “Heaven”.

The Grand Gallery, on the other hand, featured an exhibition of the artworks of Prince Charles of Belgium (brother of King Leopold III). Somehow our attention went to the ceiling.

The best-known room is the Hall of Mirrors, which features Heaven of Delight, an artwork by Jan Fabre, consisting of… jewel beetles.

After the Square Room, you are back at the beginning of the tour.

As you can imagine the opening of the Royal Palace attracts huge crowds. If you avoid the weekends, your visit will take about an hour.

The Royal Palace is located opposite the Royal Park; you can reach it via metro (metro station Park) or trams 92 and 93. Entrance is free.

The exact dates of the opening of the Palace are announced on the official website of the Belgian monarchy.

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