The Grand Place is located at the central square of Brussels. It is world-famous for its overall design and aesthetic. The Grand Place is surrounded by the City Hall, the Maison du Roi, and several guild houses.
The Grand Place is a testament to Brussels’ success. Among Northern Europe’s most prosperous mercantile cities, the Place was constructed at the zenith of its power. It was destroyed by Louis XIV in the late 1600s, but it was reconstructed under the guidance of the City Magistrate. The Grand Place today is a reflection of the ransacked square and is a testimony of the city’s wealth and pride. The Place is a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site. It holds yearly festivals, sound, and light shows, and tourists can experience the colorful Flower Carpet twice a year.
The Grand Place is decorated with tall Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance facades of carefully-made guild houses. The tower you from all sides, and their sight will take you back by four centuries. It is Europe’s most well-preserved, medieval square.
Brussels thrived as a commercial city from 1100. To allow the markets and the merchants’ homes to grow, the square was created during the 1100’s over marshy ground. By the 1200’s, several guilds have been established. Brussels’ bustling markets continued to attract trade, merchants, and guilds. Streets were named after the merchandise and food sold there. There’s still a Rue des Bouchers (Butcher’s Street) and Rue au Beurre (Butter Street) near the Grand Place.
As the years passed and as the city flourished, guild houses were formed. These guilds became the headquarters for powerful merchants. With their political and economic strength, the guild leaders established the rules and regulations of trade, even going as far as recommending ordinances to the city administration. As the guilds grew, they became involved in many wars. There’s nowhere else in Europe where you’ll find guild houses as well-preserved as those in the Grand Place.
The Town Hall
The Grand Place is dominated by the Town Hall. Standing at 96 meters, it towers over the surrounding buildings. The tower has been renovated several times during the centuries, like most of the other buildings in Belgium. At the building’s peak sits a statue depicting the patron of Brussels, the Archangel Saint Michael.
Events in the Grand Place
Brussels flower carpet: Each year, the Grand Place is wafted with the fragrant odor of flowers. The event occurs every August 15, and it is one that should not be missed.
Christmas at Brussels: During Christmas Eve, a light show is held. The lights create shapes and colors, creating an atmosphere unique only to the Place.
Website: Grand Place of Brussels