Underground History at the Former Palace of Brussels
Place Royal is a busy spot in Brussels
. Tourists queue up for the many museums, office-workers bustle back and forth from their cubicles, cars zip around the roundabout and, trams rumble through the middle. All the while, few know that beneath the hustle and bustle is the once lost palace of Brussels – Coudenberg. You may wonder how a city such as Brussels loses a whole palace, especially as there’s a rather grand one replacing it. It happened over time. Fires, battles and modernity chipped away and all but obliterated the once magnificent structure. It wasn’t until 1986 that road crews, doing work on the roundabout, discovered Coudenberg’s remains. They were preserved and eventually opened to the public. You can visit the archaeological site, walk the old road, and learn about the history of this little known monument in Brussels. It’s fascinating, and a little eerie, to stand under the busy square, in the relative silence of Coudenberg. There is also a museum of artifacts recovered from the site and a hall with temporary exhibitions. Access to the site is via the BELvue Museum, which tells the story of Belgium, where you can purchase combination tickets for the two attractions.