- Formerly a village separate from Brussels, Laeken began as a tiny community directly north of Brussels. Its origins are unknown although official documents dating from 1080 and 1090 refer to it under the Latin name Laca. From 1331, the commune belonged to the cuve of Brussels and its early history was largely that of a rural outpost of the city. At the beginning of the 19th century, there existed about 50 houses and 1,100 inhabitants. Many city dwellers began to build homes among its undulating hills and valleys, drawn to the area by the chateau built here during the Austrian regime. There were no streets and few paved roads traversed Laeken on the accession of Leopold I as king of the Belgians in 1831. The establishment of the residence of the ruling family here has made Laeken synonymous with the monarchy. By 1920, the community counted 20,000 residents and it was known as Brussels "second district." A short distance from the city, Laeken was long targeted for annexation by city officials. Expansion of the facilities of the Port of Brussels and the need to facilitate administration of the royal grounds (domaine royal) finally led to its incorporation within Brussels on 30 March 1921.See also Château Royal de Laeken; Serres Royales.
Historical Dictionary of Brussels. Paul F. State.