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Brussels' Law Courts reopen to visitors from 9 April, revealing more of its secrets

Illustration shows an inside view of Brussels justice palace building, Monday 07 February 2022 in Brussels. BELGA PHOTO HATIM KAGHAT
09:03 30/03/2022

Brussels' mythical Law Courts reopen to visitors on 9 April after a two-year hiatus. With new guided tours revealing more of its fascinating architecture and history, the site is tipped to become one of the capital's flagship attractions.

“The Palace of Justice is part of our collective heritage, all Brussels residents and visitors should be able to discover this historic building," said Brussels state secretary for urban planning and heritage Pascal Smet after an agreement on reopening was made between the Buildings Agency, the Federal Justice Service, the Court of Cassation and the government of the Brussels-Capital Region.

Brussels Law Courts Visitbrussels (c) JP Rémy

With a total net area of approximately 80,000m2, the Law Courts in Place Poelaert are one of the largest courthouses in the world and the structure defines the skyline for many in the capital. Among its more interesting features are a massive 142m-high dome of 24,000 tonnes. The impressive reception area, the Salle des Pas Perdus, is around 3,600m² with a compass rose with sixteen ray marks in its centre.

The imposing building attracts visitors and photographers every year. It has also encited interest over the past few years for its seemingly neverending repair and renovation projects.

"Many people would like to get acquainted with the intriguing history and exceptional architecture of the building," the Buildings Agency said in a statement. "Since the outbreak of the pandemic, that was no longer possible, but that is now changing. From Saturday, April 9 there will again be guided tours in the building."

Brussels Law Courts Visitbrussels (c) Jean-Pol Lejeune

These tours are provided by Korei Guided Tours, which has been organising walks, lectures and guided tours for 25 years, and Arkadia, which has been researching and sharing the richness of Belgian and Brussels heritage since 1983. They will give guided tours in Dutch, English and French on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons. Registration is mandatory and can be done on the and websites, and the prices range between €10 euros and €16 per person.

"We not only want to make the Palace of Justice accessible to everyone, we also hope to raise awareness about its preservation and restoration," said State Secretary Smet.

"It's an emblematic building, which is part of the Brussels skyline, but also symbolises one of the three state powers," added Mathieu Michel, federal secretary of state for the Buildings Agency. "That's why we have to do everything we can to preserve it for future generations."

Written by Nick Amies