Château Royal de Laeken/Koninklijke Kasteel van Laken
   The residence that is home to the Belgian monarchy is situated in Laeken on a large parkland estate (160 ha/395 acres). The original structure was built in 1782-1784 for Archduchess Marie-Christine and her husband Duke Albert-Casimir of Saxony-Teschen, governors-general (1781-1790) during the reign of Joseph II, who bought the estates of Schoonoenberg and Groothof. The grounds were confiscated during the Brabant Revolution. Empty of most of its contents, the chateau lay almost in ruins. In 1804, it was restored by Ghislain-Joseph Henry by order of Napoléon Bonaparte, who acquired it. Bonaparte removed the remaining valuable items and shipped them to Malmaison in Paris. Most were never returned. The property was gifted to Empress Marie-Louise and it became the possession of King William I after Waterloo. A fire destroyed much of the building on 1 January 1890 and King Leopold II commissioned its reconstruction under architect Alphonse Balat. Screened by wrought-iron gates, the Louis XVI-style structure was enlarged in 1902 by architect Charles Girault (1851-1930).
   The crown property (domaine royal) consists of the residence, greenhouses (see SERRES ROYALES), and surrounding parkland that was assembled in 1880. The villa Belvedere was added to the royal property in 1903.

Historical Dictionary of Brussels. .

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