Palais de Justice

Price guide: Free

Place Poelaert, Brussels, 1000

Price guide: Free

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By Emma Thomson, your Brussels expert

#14 of 20
expert-rated things to do in Brussels
Expert overall rating:4.3 out of 5
Value for money:
Recommended for:
Business travellers, Couples, Culture vultures, Mature travellers, Singles, Design and architecture, Great views / scenery, History

Expert review of Palais de Justice

Awesome Law Courts overlooking the Marolles district.

Brussels’s Palace of Justice was aptly built, between 1866 and 1880, on top of Galenberg or ‘gallows hill’, a popular place for executions up until the 16th century, and in its heyday was the largest building in the world. Designed by Joseph Poelaert, the project forced entire neighbourhoods from their homes and made Poelaert a national figure of hate — he died insane four years before its completion.

The building is still used by lawyers meeting their clients, but most of the vast rooms are wasted space. (The government has been trying toying with the idea of converting it into a theatre or exhibition space for years.) Its exterior has been swathed in scaffolding for years, but you can still wander around the inner atriums and marvel at the scale of the Corinthian, Ionic and Doric columns — thick as oak tree trunks — and the mixture of ancient Egyptian, Babylonian and Greek-Roman architectural styles.

Expert tips: 
There are wonderful views of Brussels’s skyline from the balcony located to the left of the Law Courts.

More information on Palais de Justice:

Price guide:
Castle / palace, Historic site, Landmark / monument
Place Poelaert, Brussels, 1000
+32 2 508 64 10
Months open:
All year round
Opening times:
Mon—Fri 9am—3pm

Have you been to Palais de Justice? Would you recommended it?