Northern Quarter (Brussels)
The Northern Quarter (French: Quartier Nord (Espace Nord), Dutch: Noordruimte) is the central business district of Brussels, Belgium. Like La Défense in Paris, the Docklands in London or the Zuidas in Amsterdam, the Northern Quarter consists of a concentrated collection of high-rise buildings where many Belgian and multinational companies have their headquarters.
The Northern Quarter roughly covers the area between Willebroek Quay, railways along the Brussels-North railway station and the north side of the small ring. The territory is thus split between the municipalities of Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, Schaerbeek and the City of Brussels.
The area is characterised by high-rise buildings, most around 100 metres (330 feet) tall. Over half of the 20 tallest buildings in Belgium are located in the Northern Quarter. The area has around 1,200,000 m2 (13,000,000 sq ft) of office space occupied by 40,000 workers. It has an additional 8,000 residents.
The creation of the business district was controversial. The demolition of a built-up and occupied residential area around Brussels-North railway station was not universally appreciated. Over 15,000 residents were forced out. Shortly after the first rows of residences were demolished, an economic crisis struck, leaving a gaping hole of open space in the city. The area has since filled up with skyscrapers.
The first new towers were completed in the 1970s and include the World Trade Center. Now that the area is an established business district, more and more companies in addition to federal and regional administrations have offices in the area.
After a lull in building in the 1990s, projects began again in the 2000s. The 137-metre-tall (449 ft) Rogier Tower, finished in 2006, gave more character to the skyline. The Zenith Tower anchors the area on its northern end.