Le Botanique and its gardens

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Le Botanique and its gardens

The vast building that we know today was built between 1826 and 1829 to house the Royal Horticultural Society of the Netherlands, the main source of funding for the Botanical Gardens of Brussels. However, the Society very quickly abandoned its scientific aspirations, which were supported by the City, to devote itself largely to commercial activities. It was eventually forced to move away, leaving the building behind. The decorative artist Pierre-François Gineste had directed the works, based on plans by the architect Tilman-François Suys. Respecting the traditional structure of orangeries, he conceived an imposing central rotunda with a cupola, flanked by two wings, each terminating in a slightly offset pavillion. Thoughts soon turned to the possibility of hosting parties there, and a hall was developed for this purpose between the eastern orangery and the rotunda. However, this space became the herbarium from 1870 onwards. The complex continued to fulfil its functions until 1973, but the long-decided move to Meise seemed inevitable… The site became the Cultural Centre of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, and was officially opened as such in 1984. In about 1829, the architect Charles-Henri Petersen was tasked with drawing up plans for the garden, in the form of botanical gardens to be located between the Porte de Schaerbeek/Schaarbeekse Poort and the Porte de Cologne/Keulenpoort. At that time, the site was no more than a series of ponds, small woods, fields and vegetable gardens. The park, extended in 1842 and 1854, was adorned with a series of 52 sculptures, created between 1894 and 1898. The site, soon cut in two by the Boulevard Saint-Lazare/Sint-Lazaruslaan, had to be reconfigured. This work was entrusted to René Pechère, who designed a garden divided into three separate terraces for the 1958 World Fair. The French-style formal garden, planted with flowering shrubs, is laid out in front of the cultural centre’s greenhouses and orangery. The middle section, inspired by Italian designs, features a star-shaped rose garden and a flowerbed containing 40 different species of iris. The third, lower section of the park is designed in the style of an English landscaped garden, with winding pathways, ornamental lakes and shrub-lined lawns. (Listed 15/04/1964)

Practical information

  • 1210 Brussels
    • M
      Botanique/Kruidtuin
    • T
      Botanique/Kruidtuin
    • B
      Botanique/Kruidtuin