Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert

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Royal Saint-Hubert Galleries
Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert (French)
Koninklijke Sint-Hubertusgalerijen (Dutch)
Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert.jpg
LocationCity of Brussels, Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium
Coordinates50°50′51″N 4°21′18″E / 50.84750°N 4.35500°E / 50.84750; 4.35500Coordinates: 50°50′51″N 4°21′18″E / 50.84750°N 4.35500°E / 50.84750; 4.35500
AddressRue du Marché aux Herbes / Grasmarkt 90
Opening date20 June 1847
ArchitectJean-Pierre Cluysenaar
Public transit accessBrussels-Central
WebsiteOfficial website

The Royal Saint-Hubert Galleries (French: Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, Dutch: Koninklijke Sint-Hubertusgalerijen) is an ensemble of three glazed shopping arcades in central Brussels, Belgium. It consists of the Galerie du Roi or Koningsgalerij ("King's Gallery"), the Galerie de la Reine or Koninginnegalerij ("Queen's Gallery") and the Galerie des Princes or Prinsengalerij ("Princes' Gallery").

The galleries were designed and built by the architect Jean-Pierre Cluysenaar between 1846 and 1847,[1][2] and precede other famous 19th-century European shopping arcades, such as the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan and the Passage in Saint Petersburg. Like them, they have twin regular facades with distant origins in Vasari's long narrow street-like courtyard of the Uffizi in Florence, with glazed arched shopfronts separated by pilasters and two upper floors, all in an Italianate Cinquecento style, under an arched glass-paned roof with a delicate cast-iron framework. The complex was designated a historic monument in 1986.[3]

The galleries are located in the block between the Rue du Marché aux Herbes/Grasmarkt and the Rue de la Montagne/Bergstraat to the south and east, the Rue d'Arenberg/Arenbergstraat and the Rue de l'Ecuyer/Schildknaapsstraat to the north, and the Rue des Dominicains/Predikherenstraat and the Rue des Bouchers/Beenhouwersstraat to the west. This site is served by Brussels Central Station.


The Royal Saint-Hubert Galleries were designed by the young architect Jean-Pierre Cluysenaar, who determined to sweep away a warren of ill-lit alleyways between the Rue du Marché aux Herbes/Grasmarkt and the Rue Montagne aux Herbes Potagères/Warmoesberg and replace a sordid space where the bourgeoisie scarcely ventured into with a covered shopping arcade more than 200 m (660 ft) in length.[4] His idea, conceived in 1836, was finally authorised in February 1845. The partnership Société des Galeries Saint-Hubert, in which the banker Jean-André Demot took an interest, was established by the summer of that year, but nine years were required to disentangle all the property rights, assembled by rights of eminent domain, during a process that caused one property owner to die of a stroke, and a barber, it was said, to slit his throat as the adjacent house came down.[5]

The Royal Saint-Hubert Galleries' architect, Jean-Pierre Cluysenaar

Construction started on 6 May 1846, lasting for thirteen months, and the 213-metre-long (699 ft) passage was inaugurated on 20 June 1847 by King Leopold I and his two sons.[6][1][2] In 1845, the Société named the three sections of the new passage the Galerie du Roi/Koningsgalerij, the Galerie de la Reine/Koninginnegalerij and the Galerie des Princes/Prinsengalerij.[7] The ensemble, called the Passage Saint-Hubert ("Saint-Hubert Passage") has borne its present name since 1965.

Under its motto Omnibus omnia ("Everything for everybody"), displayed in the fronton of its palace-like facade, the Saint-Hubert Galleries attracted people of fashion. Brilliantly lit, they offered the luxury of outdoor cafés in Brussels' inclement climate, in an ambiance of luxury retailers that brought to Brussels the true feel of a European capital. In the premises of La Chronique daily newspaper, on 1 March 1896, the first public showing of moving pictures took place of the cinematographers Lumière, fresh from their initial triumph in Paris.[2]

A theatre inside the Galerie du Roi, the Royal Theatre of the Galleries, was designed by Cluysenaar and opened 7 June 1847. It became one of three royal theatres of Brussels, alongside the Royal Theatre of La Monnaie and the Royal Park Theatre, playing operetta and revues. Its interior was rebuilt in 1951. Another theatre, the Théâtre du Vaudeville, located in the Galerie de la Reine, was inaugurated in 1884 as the Casino Saint-Hubert.[8]

The Royal Galleries were designated a historic monument on 19 November 1986.[3] In 2008, they were submitted for World Heritage inscription and are included in UNESCO's "Tentative List" in the cultural heritage category.[9] Nowadays, the King's Gallery is home to the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts, which honours the greatest men and women of art, history, music, the humanities and science.[2]


The Royal Galleries consist of two major sections, each more than 100 metres (330 feet) in length (respectively called the Galerie du Roi/Koningsgalerij, meaning "King's Gallery", and the Galerie de la Reine/Koninginnegalerij, meaning "Queen's Gallery"), and a smaller side gallery (the Galerie des Princes/Prinsengalerij, meaning "Princes' Gallery"). The main sections (King and Queen's Gallery) are separated by a peristyle at the point where the Rue des Bouchers/Beenhouwersstraat crosses the gallery complex. At this point, there is a discontinuity in the straight perspective of the galleries. This "bend" was introduced purposefully in order to make the long perspective of the galleries, with its repetition of arches, pilasters and windows, less tedious.[10]

  • The Galerie du Roi (Dutch: Koningsgalerij) stretches from the Rue des Bouchers to the Rue d'Arenberg/Arenbergstraat. It notably houses the Royal Theatre of the Galleries.
  • The Galerie de la Reine (Dutch: Koninginnegalerij), to the south, leads to the Rue du Marché aux Herbes/Grasmarkt, near the Grand-Place/Grote Markt (Brussels' main square), and on the other side of this street begins the Horta Gallery. Its best known shops are Delvaux leather goods and Neuhaus chocolatier.
  • The Galerie des Princes (Dutch: Prinsengalerij) is located perpendicularly between the Galerie du Roi and the Rue des Dominicains/Predikherenstraat.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b "History of the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert in Brussels: a marvelous story". Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d "Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert". Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  3. ^ a b Région de Bruxelles-Capitale (2016). "Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert" (in French). Brussels. Retrieved 4 July 2022.
  4. ^ Willaumez 1994, p. 14.
  5. ^ Willaumez 1994, p. 18–19.
  6. ^ Willaumez 1994, p. 21.
  7. ^ Willaumez 1994, p. 23.
  8. ^ "Accueil - Théâtre du Vaudeville - Salle d'événements" (in French). 23 May 2022. Retrieved 6 January 2023.
  9. ^ Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Les passages de Bruxelles / Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert - UNESCO World Heritage Centre". Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  10. ^ Willaumez 1994, p. 26.


  • Grosjean, Paul (2022). Galerie Royales (Saint-Hubert), Star des galeries, Galeries des stars (in French). Brussels: Édition Ventures.
  • Willaumez, Marie-France (1983). Les passages-galeries du XIXe siècle à Bruxelles (in French). Brussels: Ministère de la Communauté française.
  • Willaumez, Marie-France (1994). Trois visages de passages au XIXe siècle. Bruxelles, ville d'Art et d'Histoire (in French). Vol. 7. Brussels: Éditions de la Région de Bruxelles-Capitale.

External links[edit]