Royal Greenhouses of Laeken

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Serre du Congo or Congoserre (left) and the Grote wintertuin or Grand Jardin d'hiver (right), part of the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken
The engagement of Rudolf of Austria and Princess Stéphanie of Belgium in the Winter Garden.

The Royal Greenhouses of Laeken (Dutch: Koninklijke Serres van Laken, French: Serres Royales de Laeken) are a vast complex of monumental heated greenhouses in the park of the Royal Castle of Laeken in the north of Brussels. The historic complex contains tropical, sub tropical and cold greenhouses.[1] These greenhouses are world famous, but not a tourist attraction. The greenhouses are part of the Royal Park, and the royal private gardens and usually not open for visitors.

History[edit]

The gardens date back to the 18th century, but King Leopold II changed its garden-architecture. A brand new complex was commissioned by King Leopold II and designed by Alphonse Balat. Built between 1874 and 1895, the complex was finished with the completion of the so-called Iron Church, a domed greenhouse, which would originally serve as the royal chapel. The total floor surface of this immense complex is 2.5 hectares (270,000 square feet). 800,000 liters (over 200,000 US gallons) of fuel oil are needed each year to heat the buildings. After the death of the king, the greenhouses were kept, but the Iron Church was converted into a private royal bathing house.

Royal botanic collection[edit]

Famous is the royal botanic collection, with old plants from Africa and various species of flowers which are cultivated inside the royal greenhouses for use at court. Though the current collection has lost many cultivars since the death of King Leopold II, the collection is still famous.[2] In 1909, there were 314 species of camellias in the royal collection, with more than 1000 plants. Today, only 305 remain. The camellias are the world's largest and oldest collection in a greenhouse. The Orange tree collection of Leopold II was renowned with 130 trees aged 200 to 300 years; one even 400 years. In the 1970s, only 45 trees were still alive.[3]

Visit[edit]

The royal complex can only be visited each year during a two-week period in April–May, when most flowers are in full bloom. Other times, the greenhouses are visited by heads of state during official visits.

Famous visitors[edit]

Gallery[edit]

Exterior[edit]

Interior[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ De tuinman & de koning: Het domein van Laken & zijn bewoners Boek van Erlend Hamerlijnck en Paul Van Gorp
  2. ^ De tuinman & de koning: Het domein van Laken & zijn bewoners Boek van Erlend Hamerlijnck en Paul Van Gorp
  3. ^ De tuinman & de koning: Het domein van Laken & zijn bewoners Boek van Erlend Hamerlijnck en Paul Van Gorp

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°53′19″N 4°21′38″E / 50.888598°N 4.360692°E / 50.888598; 4.360692