The Notre-Dame-aux-Neiges neighbourhood

The Notre-Dame-aux-Neiges neighbourhood

This neighbourhood was named after a modest chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Snows, the Virgin Protector whose white blanket of snow indicated the precise location in Rome where the basilica of Saint Mary Major should be built. It is bordered by the Rue Royale/Koningsstraat in the south and by the delineation of the boulevards in the north-west. In the early 19th century the neighbourhood still retained its former appearance, but this gradually began to change. The first alteration was the demolition of the fortified gates, heralding the dismantling of the city walls carried out under Napoleon. The process continued with the creation of straight streets and the development of the Place d’Orange, later renamed the Place des Barricades/Barricadenplein. While imposing townhouses came to line certain streets, a number of notorious alleyways and dead-end streets still remained, prompting Charles Rogier to declare “This shameful cesspool must one day disappear”. Several projects were put forward, but it was Joseph Hoste’s plan that was selected by the City and the then mayor, Jules Anspach. This involved creating an understated combination of diagonal routes intersected by straight streets, reminiscent of a grid pattern. Some thirty architects worked to design tall town houses to line the new roads. The Place de la Liberté/Vrijheidsplein remained the centre of the urban composition created by Antoine Mennessier and Georges Aigoin, who designed the layouts. The Notre-Dame-aux-Neiges neighbourhood has retained a fine collection of Eclectic and Neoclassical style buildings.

Practical information

  • 1000 Brussels
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      Madou, Botanique/Kruidtuin
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      Madou, Presse/Drukpers