A Guide to the Grand Place in Brussels (Grote Markt)

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Last Updated on seventh August 2023 by Sophie Nadeau

Grand Place lies within the coronary heart of Brussels and is commonly touted to be one of the crucial lovely public squares on the planet. A real must-see if you’re visiting Belgium, right here’s your full information to Grand Place, in addition to a historical past, and what to know earlier than you go.

Please observe that Grand Place is the French model of the sq.. As Belgium has three official languages (Flemish, French and German), its identify in Flemish is Grote Markt.

grote markt brussels

A historical past of Grote Markt in Brussels

The story of Grand Place dates all the best way again to the Twelfth-century, although it was solely accomplished in its current kind within the Seventeenth-century. The first buildings within the sq. would have been constructed from wooden.

Unfortunately, a lot of the buildings within the sq. had been destroyed in a French bombardment in 1695 and so needed to be reconstructed.

In centuries passed by, Grand Place would have been the place within the metropolis the place retailers, merchants, and even common residents would have traded items. Indeed, this was the case for thus many many years that the streets across the sq. are named for meals.

A Guide to the Grand Place in Brussels

Wander down any of the encircling roads and also you’ll quickly discover that they bear names similar to Rue du Marché aux Herbes (herbs), Rue du Marché aux Fromages (cheeses), and Rue au Beurre (butter).

During the Thirteenth-century, three coated markets had been constructed in order that retailers would be capable to promote and exhibit their wares even within the case of a wet day. As town grew, the market stalls grew fewer and had been changed with Guildhalls, grand buildings which had been used for tax accumulating functions.

Over the centuries, plenty of historic occasions have taken place within the sq.. For instance, in 1523, Hendrik Voes and Jan Van Essen had been the primary Protestant martyrs who had been burned by the inquisition. Meanwhile, in 1568, the counts of Egmont and Hoorn had been beheaded within the sq..

Today, the illustrious sq. boasts components of Baroque, Gothic and Louis XIV structure and has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage web site since 1998.

grand place square

Main buildings of the Grand Place

There are two important buildings within the sq. that are so lovely and iconic that they stunning a lot steal the present from all different buildings in Grand Place. These are the Maison du Roi and the Hôtel de Ville.

Rather curiously, the Maison du Roi (King’s House) is definitely recognized in Flemish as Broodhuis, which is actually translated into English as Bread House.

In the Thirteenth-century, a bread market was on the positioning of the place this Nineteenth-century Neo-Gothic constructing now stands. The French identify, Maison du Roi, refers to the truth that, through the Sixteenth-century, the proprietor of the Palace was Charles V, the King of Spain.

Maison du Roi Grand Place

With its impossibly excessive steeple (96 metres in top) and ornately carved façade, the Hôtel de Ville (generally known as Stadhuis in Flemish) stands out from even essentially the most lovely of buildings in Grand Place.

The city corridor has retained its perform as the executive coronary heart and centre of Brussels because it was constructed within the Fifteenth-century. In a moderately curious accident, the city corridor, which was constructed between 1401 and 1455 is the one surviving medieval constructing within the sq..

grand place guide

Another fascinating constructing within the sq. is called Le Pigeon. Located at Grand Place 26-27, that is the place Victor Hugo lived throughout his exile from France in 1852.

facade grand place

Things to do in Grand Place

Thanks to its central location and tumultuous historical past, Grand Place stays the beating coronary heart of Brussels historic metropolis centre. And, even right now, the Grote Markt stays the right spot from which to start any exploration of previous Brussels, even in the event you solely have someday within the metropolis.

Indeed, the Grand Place is near many prime points of interest within the metropolis, together with Manneken Pis (the statue of the small peeing boy) and the illustrious coated Royal Galleries.

grand place panorama

Winter gentle present

One of the extra seasonal occasions that you simply’ll take pleasure in as a part of the Brussels Christmas Market is the winter gentle present. As effectively as an enormous Christmas tree (which is lit up with LED lights, together with 1.3 km price of glowing crimson lights), the complete sq. is illuminated every night in every kind of various colored lights.

City Hall Museum

One of the must-see museums of Brussels for individuals who want to be taught extra concerning the historical past of town and its environment, in addition to it historic significance inside Europe, is the Brussels City Museum.

Set in opposition to the backdrop of the Maison du Roi, highlights of this museum embody the unique statue of Manneken Pis (which is on show on the highest flooring) and dioramas of how Brussels would have appeared through the Middle Ages. On the primary Sunday of each month, the museum is free.

maison du roi

Tour the Town Hall

As one of the crucial spectacular buildings in Grand Place, it ought to come as no shock that this is among the high locations to go to within the sq.. Unfortunately, you may solely go to the Hôtel de Ville by way of guided tour, although it’s attainable to take these in English, French, Flemish, or Spanish.

Beer Museum

If there’s one factor it’s essential learn about Brussels earlier than visiting, it’s that you simply’ll be stunned by the variety of bizarre, fantastic and distinctive museums scattered all through town.

For instance, one among my favorite hidden gems of Brussels is that there’s fairly actually a museum devoted fully to the wardrobe of Manneken Pis. Another one is situated proper on Grand Place and is the Beer Museum.

Known domestically because the Musée de la Bière Belge, this historic centre showcases 18th-century brewing gear and in addition highlights more moderen innovations.

Flower Carpet

Only going down for a couple of quick weeks in summer time as soon as each two years, the Flower Carpet is a real spotlight of summer time festivities in Brussels and boasts an astonishing half one million begonias that are organized right into a tapestry-like formation on the bottom of Grand Place.

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A Guide to the Grand Place in Brussels / grote markt brussels belgium europe

Sophie Nadeau loves canines, books, journey, pizza, and historical past. A fan of all issues France associated, she runs solosophie.com when she’s not chasing after the subsequent sundown shot or consuming one thing candy. She lives in London however travels as a lot as she will be able to. Subscribe to Sophie’s YouTube Channel.

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