The 5 most curious buildings in Brussels

1) Atomium

One of the world’s most bizarre structures, the Atomium was designed for Expo 58 to represent an atom magnified several billion times. Following a recent renovation, it shines as brightly as it did in1958. Best seen at night when the spheres are lit by thousands of tiny lights.

Atomium building in Brussels

Square de l’Atomium, Heysel

+32 (0)2 475 47 75


2) La Bellone

Here is one of the best kept secrets in Brussels. A perfectly preserved 17th- century stone house stands on a cobbled courtyard protected from the rain by a modern glass roof. It is truly surreal. The Maison Bellone now houses several cultural organisations and serves as a venue for dance and theatre productions.

La Bellone

More hidden Brussels?

Discover the guide: The 500 Hidden Secrets of Brussels takes you to hundreds of lesser-known places and unique spots in the city. Available as book or ebook.

Shop the guide

3) Gare de la Chapelle

The Gare de la Chapelle is almost a ghost station. All but a few local trains go straight through the station without stopping. It has now been transformed into an alternative art centre called ‘Recyclart’ where every available wall is covered with graffiti.

train platform at Gare de la Chapelle

4) Rue Brederode 10

The strange wooden building at Rue Brederode 10 is one of the city’s best-kept secrets. Built for King Leopold II in 1906, it was modelled on a Norwegian chalet he had admired at the 1900 Paris Universal Exhibition. Leopold briefly ruled his vast African colony from a small office inside this eccentric hideaway. But the only clue is the star of the Congo Free State, repeated five times on the façade.

The Norwegian Chalet at Brederodestraat 10 in Brussels

Rue Brederode 10

5) Palais de Justice

Joseph Poelaert designed the vast law courts in the late 19th century in a strange mixture of architectural styles. The building is an endless warren of staircases, corridors and courtrooms. The government is currently trying to figure out what to do with this crumbling monstrosity, but there is no easy answer.

façade of Palais de Justice

Place Poelaert

Join the community

Sign up for free to gain unlimited access to the website. Plus, you'll receive a 10% discount in our online bookshop.

Sign up