Leopold Quarter Walking Tour (Self Guided), Brussels

Built in 1837, the Leopold Quarter is a popular district in Brussels and features some of city's most significant buildings, like the Paul-Henri Spaak building, the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences and Antoine Wiertz Museum. The district is also home to the popular Leopold Park and Jean Rey Square. Check out this next three-hour tour and enjoy the best sites of the Leopold Quarter in Brussels.
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Leopold Quarter Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Leopold Quarter Walking Tour
Guide Location: Belgium » Brussels (See other walking tours in Brussels)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 Km or 0.8 Miles
Author: audrey
1
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences

1) Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences

The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences is owned by the Royal Belgian Institute and is dedicated to natural history. The museum was founded in 1846 and started with the collection of Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine. In the 1860s, when new fortifications were being constructed near Antwerp, several whale fossils were unearthed. These became part of the museum’s collection. A mammoth skeleton was also unearthed around the time and became a popular display. The museum also displays fossils of the rare Iguanodon, a bulky herbivore dating back to the Early Cretaceous period. There are more that 37 million specimens or items in the museum’s collection, making it an important repository not only for Belgium, but one of the top-10 natural science museums in the world. The museum’s permanent collection includes: dinosaur hall, mammoths, north and south pole exhibits, a gallery of shells, the insect gallery, a mineral gallery and whale hall. Temporary rotating exhibits, which tend to be interactive in nature, are also presented at the museum. Research conducted by the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences is occasionally showcased at the museum. An extensive library with old naturalist history books and contemporary academic journals is also on site.

Operation hours: Tuesday - Friday: 9:30 am - 5:00 pm; Saturday - Sunday: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Antoine Wiertz Museum

2) Antoine Wiertz Museum

The Antoine Wierzt Museum, part of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, is dedicated to the works of the Belgium sculptor and painter, Antoine Joseph Wiertz. The artist studied in Antwerp and then in Italy after he won the Prix de Rome in 1832. That award allowed him to spend three years in residence in Rome. Wierzt is credited with developing a new style in oil painting. He did not like the shiny effect that oil painting left, so he developed a style called mat painting, which uses mixed colors, turpentine and other additives. His 1853 piece, “The Homeric Struggle” was the first large-scale piece to use this technique. Unfortunately, this technique resulted in a slow decay of his work, due to the additives to the paint. He moved to Brussels in the later years of his life, partially motivated by the death of his mother. When he came to Brussels, the local government gave him a workshop and studio space, which is the museum that you see today. Since Wiertz often created large-scale pieces of art, the workshop was also large in size. Wiertz’s artistic works actually garner mixed reviews and the museum typically has low attendance.

Operation hours: Tuesday – Friday: 10 am - 12 pm and 1 pm - 5 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Paul-Henri Spaak Building

3) Paul-Henri Spaak Building

The Paul-Henri Spaak building (PHS) is a department of the European Union Committee in Brussels. Named after former President Paul-Henri Spaak, it houses the hemicycle for plenary sessions in that city, as well as a press centre and offices for the Parliament's president and senior Parliament staff. The building juts from the main buildings out into Leopold Park surrounding the far side with trees. With its striking cylinder-shaped glass dome, redolent of the Crystal Palace as well as the Northern Bordiau Hall of the nearby Parc du Cinquantenaire, the building known to locals as the "Caprice des Dieux" (whim of the gods), which is the name of a cheese with the same shape. The 12th floor President's Dining Room is the dome's interior. This is being used for some press events and special occasions. One of the glass facades inside the dome is covered with a 150 square meters large ceramic mural called Miti del Mediterraneo, portraying the abduction of Europa and other elements of Greek mythology, which was made between 1992 and 1993 by Aligi Sassu.
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Leopold Park

4) Leopold Park

Leopold Park is located within the heart of the European Quarter. It is adjacent to the Paul-Henri Spaak building, home to the European Parliament. The park covers 10 hectares (25 acres) and replaced the Royal Zoological Gardens, which were located on this site. The park was opened in 1880. At that time, the park supported buildings of the campus of the Solvay School of Commerce. The school wanted to add additional buildings to the campus, but there was concern from the public that they would encroach into the park too much and detract from the enjoyment of park visitors. The original buildings for the school still stand in the park, though only one is still owned by the school. The park is popular with local and visitors, as it offers a lushly-vegetated respite from the hustle and bustle of Brussels. Remains of the medieval Eggevoort tower are in the park. The pond, which is fed by the Maalbek stream, is a prominent feature in the park. The pond is also one of the last that remains in the entire Maalbek Valley. Several avian species can be found in the park, including coots, mallards, geese, parakeets and moorhens. Entrance to the park is free and there is also a play area that is popular with young visitors.
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Institute of Physiology

5) Institute of Physiology

Now a department of Emile Jacqmain lyceum, the former Institute of Physiology is famous for the Solvay Conference hosted in this building. The conference brought together such personalities as Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr and Marie Curie. The building is also remarkable for its impressive architecture.
6
Jean Rey Square

6) Jean Rey Square

Jean Rey Square is located in the European Quarter of Brussels and was inaugurated in June 2001, concurrent with the beginning of the Belgian European presidency. The square is situated between Leopold Park and the Justus Lipsius building. The square was included in development plans dating back to the 1980s, but faced construction delays due to controversies of development in the surrounding area. Part of the motivation of construction the square was to provide vegetation and public space in the rather stark European Quarter area, which tends to be dominated by high rise structures. The square features natural stone paving with planter box borders and benches. A row of trees lining the western side of the square mirrors the axis that runs from the entrance of Leopold Park and across the street to the south. There are 24 water jets in the center of the square that mirror storm drain system below. The square was named after Jean Rey, a Belgian lawyer and the second President of the European Commission. Future redevelopment plans in the European Quarter would retain the square, and it would be integrated into any future plans. The Belgium transit authority is considering building a metro stop at the square in the future.
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Convent Van Maerlant

7) Convent Van Maerlant

The Convent Van Maerlant is a former convent composed of a chapel and church featuring a neo-gothic architectural style. It is located on Rue Van Maerlanstraat in the European Quarter. The red brick exterior makes the building stand out on the urban landscape. The original chapel was constructed in 1435 under the authority of the Papal Bull and renovated in the late 1700s. The current chapel is a near duplication of the one dating back to the 1400s, but renovations in the 1990s removed the original interior features. The convent was home to the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, an Order started in 1844. The convent was made from a converted house in the 1850s. The convent was closed in the 1980s due to the lack of people seeking a vocation with the church and eventually became the site of the European Commission’s central library and the Directorate-General for Education and Culture. This Directorate-General has the mission of building a knowledgeable Europe and also developing a European cultural area. The building still serves as a local chapel, but it is also used as a meeting space to encourage dialogue between different European Christian groups.

Walking Tours in Brussels, Belgium

Create Your Own Walk in Brussels

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Royal Sightseeing Walking Tour

Royal Sightseeing Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Small Ring Walking Tour

Small Ring Walking Tour

The Small Ring is a road in Brussels which surrounds the historic center of the city. It was built on top of the city's former fortifications, originally constructed in a pentagonal shape. Today, the Small Ring is home to several significant sites, such as the Egmont Palace, impressive memorials, as well as the last remains of the city's fortifications, the Halle Gate. Take this two-hour...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles
City Center Churches

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Brussels is the cultural capital of Belgium, it is also the spiritual home of Belgium's most significant churches. The city has a number of unique religious sites such as the Saint Nicholas Church, the Church of Notre-Dame de la Chapelle and the Sablon Church. Take this tour to visit some of the most impressive churches and cathedrals in Brussels' city center.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles
The European Quarter Walking Tour

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Along with Luxembourg and Strasbourg, Brussels is one of the de facto capitals of the European Union. The city's European Quarter hosts some of the most important buildings of the European Union, such as the Berlaymont building, the Justus Lipsius building and the Paul-Henri Spaak Building. Take this two-hour tour and discover the European Quarter of Brussels.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 Km or 0.9 Miles
City Center Museums

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Known as the cultural capital of Belgium, Brussels has a large number of museums located in the heart of the city. Brussels is famous for such museums as the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, the Magritte Museum, the Museum of Brussels, the Museum of Musical Instruments, etc. This

tour includes the most popular museums in Brussels City Center, all within a pleasant walking distance.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
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Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.6 Km or 0.4 Miles

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