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Law Courts of Brussels
Palais de justice de Bruxelles (French)
Justitiepaleis van Brussel (Dutch)

Main façade being renovated
Building
Architectural style Eclectic, neoclassical
Location Brussels, Belgium
Client Belgian government
Owner Belgian government
Current tenants Belgian court
Coordinates 50°50′12″N 4°21′06″E / 50.83667°N 4.35167°E / 50.83667; 4.35167
Construction
Started 31 October 1866
Inaugurated October 15, 1883
Height 104 meters
Diameter 160 m x 150 m
Floor area 260,000 m²
Cost 45 million Belgian franc
Design team
Architect Joseph Poelaert

The Law Courts of Brussels or Brussels Palace of Justice (Dutch: About this sound Justitiepaleis , French: Palais de Justice) is the most important Court building in Belgium and is a notable landmark of Brussels. It was built between 1866 and 1883 in the eclectic style by architect Joseph Poelaert. The total cost of the construction, land and furnishings was somewhere in the region of 45 million Belgian francs. It is the biggest building constructed in the 19th century.[1]

Contents

History

Inception

Old postcard. Notice the lower dome.

In 1860, an international architecture contest was organised for the design of the Palace of Justice. The designs entered in the contest were found to be unacceptable and were thus rejected. The then minister of justice Tesch appointed Joseph Poelaert to design the building in 1861. The first stone was laid on October 31, 1866, the building was only after the death of its architect inaugurated on October 15, 1883. For the building of the Palace of Justice, a large part of the city quarter of the Marollen was demolished. The inhabitants were forced to move by Poelaert and the police. The word architect became one of the most serious insults in Brussels.[2] The Palace's location is on the Galgenberg hill, where in the Middle Ages convicted criminals were hanged.[2]

Renovation

View from the Hilton hotel in December 2009.

At the end of the Second World War, on the eve of the liberation of Brussels, the retreating Germans started a fire in the Palace of Justice in order to destroy it. As a result, the cupola collapsed and part of the building was heavily damaged. By 1947 most of the building was repaired and the cupola was rebuilt two and a half meters higher than the original.

Starting in 2003, renovations have begun on the building. These renovations pertain to the repair and strengthening of the roof structure and the walls as well as putting a new layer on the gilded cupola.

Dimensions

Palais de Justice Interior.JPG

The Brussels Palace of Justice is bigger than St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The building is currently 160 by 150 meters[1], and has a total built ground surface of 260,000 m². The 104[3] meter high dome weighs 24,000 tons. The building has 8 courtyards with a surface of 6000 m², 27 large court rooms and 245 smaller court rooms and other rooms. Situated on a hill, there is a level difference of 20 meters between the upper and lower town, which results in multiple entrances to the building at different levels.

Influence

Adolf Hitler was tremendously fond of the building and, in collaboration with Albert Speer, based several of the monumental buildings of the Nazi era on the design of the court.[citation needed] See: Nazi architecture

Although lacking the dome and being much smaller, the Justice Palace in Lima in Peru, which houses the Supreme Court of Peru, is based upon the Brussels Palace of Justice.

References

External links








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