Different Belgium: Koekelberg basilica

It was one of the unusual Sundays in Brussels: it was sunny and after the rainy summer we lived through, inhabitants of Brussels were using every single possibility to soak up the sunshine happiness. I found this day a perfect opportunity to do something that after all these years in Brussels I haven’t done yet: visiting one of the biggest cathedrals in the world.

Monument seen on the way just before entering Molenbeek-Saint-Jean

I am a happy bike user in Brussels and this was no exception. What I found amazing was that it was so easy to get to Koekelberg.. From Madou towers which divide beginning of grey office area from the lives of “regular people”, a bike ride takes you through the colorful city center, then Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, where the muslim society has its strong presence, and the right into the heart of Koekelberg (the smallest municipality in the Brussels region by population).

Different cathedral

After 40 minute very enjoyable bike ride through the sunny city, Koekelberg basilica appears in all its beauty. I have been looking at it from a closer or further distance for years and somehow never went there. Built for 64 years, it is the largest building in Art Deco style in the world, one of the ten largest Roman Catholic churches by area in the world, World Heritage of the UNESCO and it accommodates various eclectic activities.

Inside the cathedral I got a feeling more being in a museum rather than in a cathedral. I am sure that all changes when there is a religious ceremony held.

It is not a cathedral in a regular way. I mean – it does look like a cathedral, but it is not its only purpose. When I was looking for an event place couple of months back, I discovered that this is a place which not only has a beautiful panoramic view, but also has 2 museums, ongoing expositions, rooms to rent for celebrations, a “dîner-spectacle” restaurant, catholic radio, tourism information point and the Belgian Union of Speleology.

The view at a height of 52,80m overlooking Brussels is amazing. I certainly want to come back one more time in the evening!

Once again I had to look at my beliefs of how things “should be” just because I have learned it one way and shake them up. This is Belgium for you – various tastes living together in (more or less) harmony. If not for any of the other reason – the panoramic view from the roof is a great reason to visit the place!

Practical info

Opening hours
Summer: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Winter: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Entrance fee
4€ p.p.
3€ p.p. for groups of minimum 20 persons, senior citizens and students

More photos of Basilica

Website of Basilica

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One thought on “Different Belgium: Koekelberg basilica

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