Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Royal Greenhouses of Laeken

Quirky Belgium

The Royal Greenhouses of Laeken are open to the public for three weeks this year from April 17 to May 8

"It’s good to be the King!" And that’s true for the King of Belgium too whose role nowadays is purely symbolic – although symbolic of what, I’m not sure.

Harmony? Unity? Decadence? 

You could argue that a King or a Queen has no place in a democracy, but that would be to miss the point. Today's Kings and Queens, stripped of any real powers, are like hedges: pieces of decoration put on the side to stand there and look pretty.

And no place better captures the hedge-like harmony, unity, and decadence of the Belgian monarchy than the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken, (Dutch: Koninklijke Serres van LakenFrench: Serres Royales de Laeken), next to the royal family’s residence on the outskirts of Brussels.

Off limits to the public for most of the year, the Royal Greenhouses open their doors for three weeks each spring to we the people. If you’ve not been, I highly recommend a visit. Not only will you see an amazing collection of exotic flowers and plants, but it's worth going just to see the fantastically bulbous metal and glass buildings designed in the 1870s by Alphonse Balat, mentor to the other great Belgian architect of the Art Nouveau era, Victor Horta.

This year you can check out the Royal Greenhouses starting Friday, April 17 until May 8. 

Find out more here.

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