A Gothic Revival masterpiece
In reality, the building only dates back to the last quarter of the 19th century; it was designed in the Gothic Revival style, which borrows from and reinterprets the decorative elements of the Middle Ages. It was built in the wake of the demolition of the building that had occupied the same site on the Grand Place since the 16th century, and which, it had been discovered, could not feasibly be restored due to the very poor state of its foundations.
Although the new building borrows heavily from the old one, it has a more flamboyant appearance and its exterior has numerous additional features, such as galleries, a multitude of historical statues and even a bell-topped central tower.
The King’s House
The new building retained the French name “Maison du Roi” that had been given to its predecessor, which was erected between 1515 and 1536. The original King’s House had in fact been built as an administrative complex at the request of Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor who not only governed the Duchy of Brabant, of which Brussels was the capital city, but also a very extensive collection of territories including the Spanish kingdoms of Aragon and Castile.