Palais de la Nation/Paleis der Natie

(Rue de la Loi and Place des Palais)
   Situated opposite the north gate of the Parc de Bruxelles, the Palais de la Nation houses the Chamber of Representatives and Senate of the Belgian federal parliament. The cornerstone of the neoclassical-style structure was laid on 24 August 1779 on grounds chosen in 1777 by city authorities. It was completed in 1784. Designed by French architect Barnabé Guimard (1731-1805), with interior work by Philippe-Jérôme Sandrié, it was built to house the Sovereign Council of Brabant, the highest law court of the duchy that had been in existence since the 14th century and whose premises had grown too cramped. Various law courts used the building during the French regime and the right wing was transformed into a hotel and later served as the residence of the prince of Orange until a fire in 1820. The States-General (see ESTATES-GENERAL) met here during the Dutch regime. On 10 November 1830 the provisional government of the new Belgian state decreed the present name.
   Eight Ionic columns support a pediment decorated with low-relief carvings by Gilles-Lambert Godecharle (1750-1835) that allegorically depict Justice enthroned abetted by Constancy and Religion. The building was restored after fires in 1820 and 1883, the latter having destroyed the library, archives, lower house chamber, and reading rooms. These were reconstructed by Henri Beyaert. The building was enlarged between 1872 and 1878 in an extension toward rue de Louvain.

Historical Dictionary of Brussels. .

Look at other dictionaries:

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