In my last article about Brussels, I highlighted the cultural and culinary sights of the city, and briefly touched on the subject of nature. There, I presented the magnificent Parc du Cinquantenaire, also called Jubelpark. It offers a welcome change of scenery and is particularly popular during lunch breaks, as it is close to the European institutions and has a high recreational value. This is not least due to the magnificent Arc de Triomphe, which I discussed in more detail in the article: Brussels’ cultural and culinary attractions.
By Julia Mayer / 20.04.2020
If you are looking to enjoy a longer break in nature, Brussels offers many more beautiful green spaces, of which I would like to present my two favourites.
Firstly, there are the aptly named Jardins du Fleuriste (the Florists’ Gardens). In these gardens, which are integrated into the royal parks and gardens of Laken, many rare plants can be found. Owned by the royal donation, the park became a place for experiments and exhibitions of these rare plants through the management of Brussels Environment.
At the end of the 19th century, land acquired from King Leopold II was used to grow these exotic plants and ornamental flowers for the royal residence. It fulfilled this purpose then and continues to do so now. The open space and the greenhouses, which were built in the 19th century, still exist today in their original structure. After the death of King Leopold II, the ownership changed and the park now belongs to the Belgian state.
What has not changed over time are the remarkable plants in the Florists’ Gardens. Their individuality is partly linked to the absence of them in other Belgian parks, which is due, among other things, to the fact that they require special care. This care has been provided and guaranteed not only today, but throughout the long history of the park, demonstrated by the many plants that are over a hundred years old.
The opening hours of the flower garden are based on those of the neighbouring colonial garden: both of which are open all year round from 8.15 am. The closing times vary (depending on the season) from 5.00 to 8.00 pm.
To go directly to the park, it is best to take the metro to Stuyvenbergh. Alternatively, I would recommend to get off at Bocksteal to have a look around the Laken district which is worth seeing before setting off in direction of Castle Stuyvenbergh and the Jardins du Fleuriste. Those who choose the latter option should definitely make a detour to the Église Notre-Dame de Laeken. This church is called the Royal Church because of the adjoining Royal Chapel, whose crypt houses many Belgian Kings. The neo-gothic church from the 19th century was built by order of King Leopold I to store the remains of his wife, Queen Louise-Marie of Orleans. Since then, the objective has been extended to the Belgian Royal Family. Nevertheless, the Church of Our Lady is strongly attached to social doctrine, so that in it a form of religious life is practiced which is directly dependent on the social reality surrounding it.
Another attraction and my second recommendation is in the municipality of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre. This is an area with two parks and many lakes, which is particularly busy at weekends, but also attracts joggers during the week. And not without reason: especially after a long working day, the lakes, watercourses, green spaces and lovingly designed bridges provide a great balance.
Here you can find the Parc des Sources, whose name is derived from the numerous water sources available there. Around the watercourses and lakes you can admire the most diverse vegetation. The park’s landscape, laid out in the English style, will enchant you with its pretty rockeries and romantic bridges. Nearby you will find the Parc Parmentier, which offers an equally high biological value. This park is privately owned and managed by a non-profit organisation. There are also beautiful places here that invite you to relax and enjoy nature. These parks are easily accessible, on foot or by public transport, and provide further access to various activities offered in the Brussels conurbation.
As you can see, Brussels does not only offer sights in the form of buildings, museums or food. No, the Belgian capital also has a lot to offer biologically and it is worth experiencing this diversity in its entirety!