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    Crumbling buildings in Rome (pictured) only add to the atmosphere in a country where old is redefined and western civilization begins. Explore Italy!

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    Latvia is small, but has a diverse history, foods, and architecture (shown), which includes aspects from both Eastern and Western Europe. Begin Your Journey!

Architecture of Belgium

Belgian Architecture - Grote Market
Grote Market

The first significant architectural style to arrive in Belgium was the Gothic style, which arrived in about the 1100s. The region was fairly prosperous during the next couple centuries so this style flourished as many buildings were erected. The old town in Bruges is an excellent example of Gothic architecture, although perhaps the most impressive building from this period in Belgium is Notre Dame Cathedral in Tournai (begun in the 1100s).

As the Renaissance hit Italy in the 1400s, it soon spread to Flanders and in the early 1500s a number of buildings were built with Renaissance aspects, including the town hall (1561–1565) in Antwerp. However, the Renaissance never truly took hold in the country. Baroque also made an entrance into Belgium, but again didn't have a huge impact. La Grande Place (late 1600s) in Brussels is one of the better examples of Baroque architecture in Belgium.

Belgian Architecture - Bruges
Bruges

The next significant architectural influence in the country arrived in the late 1800s as the Industrial Revolution swept in and brought with it new materials and building techniques. Steel and glass buildings became common, such as the Laeken greenhouses in Brussels (late 1800s) and soon these new building techniques were integrated into buildings with various facades, particularly with the advent of Art Nouveau.

Belgian Architecture - Art Nouveau in Brussels
Art Nouveau in Brussels

Belgium was a leader in the Art Nouveau movement, which began right about 1900. The Hotel Tassel, Hotel Solvay, Hotel van Eetvelde, and Maison & Atelier Horta (all late 1800s) located in Brussels were a few of the first Art Nouveau buildings ever built. A few years later the Stoclet House in Brussels was built, renowned as one of the world's best examples of Art Nouveau.

Brussels and Antwerp are perhaps the best example of the architectural changes over the course of Belgium's history, but for a more unique look into local architecture, keep an eye open for the Belfries spread throughout the country. These buildings, built between the 1000s and 1600s cover nearly every form of architecture from Romanesque to Rococo. Nearly every town and city in Belgium has a belfry, which over time became one of the most significant symbols of each city and together create an incredible architectural history of the country.

This page was last updated: March, 2013