A walk in the old port of Brussels. From the 'Bruxelles, chemins de ronde - circuit de l'ancien port' folder by the Monuments and Sites service of the Brussels Capital Region.
max. 27 m
min. 19 m
The Bassin des Marchands was excavated in 1560-1561. From 1878 it was covered in different stages. To the south lay the new Vismet (Fish Market), which was demolished in 1955. Two ponds evoke an image of the former harbor dock. The fountain commemorating Mayor Anspach comes from the Place De Brouckère. Along the streets are houses with neoclassical façade, some with an older core (17th century). The Cheval Marin (Seahorse) (1680), Quai aux Briques 90, was a former inn and the residence of the harbormaster. It was dismantled and rebuilt in 1898-1899.
Parallel to the Bassin des Marchands runs the Rue de Flandre - Vlaamsesteenweg, for centuries a street of traders. In the south the street ends at the Place Sainte-Catherine. Here, the Bassin Sainte-Catherine was situated (1564). After covering the dock in 1853, a new church was built (1854-1873), dedicated to Sainte Catherine. The ancient architecture of the quays is preserved on the north side of the square with façades from the 17th and 18th centuries.
A part of the port area formerly belonged to the Big Béguinage - Begijnhof (founded in 1250), with the baroque St John the Baptist Church (1676) in the middle. At the end of the 18th century the possessions of the convent were transferred to the Council of the Almshouses. A large neoclassical guesthouse took the place of the infirmary. The Pacheco Institute is now situated here. In the Rue du Béguinage - Begijnhofstraat some Beguine houses are still left (numbers 9 and 15-17).
The Bassin des Barques is an extension of the Bassin des Marchands and dates from the same period (1561). The name is derived from the boats that shipped people via the canal Brussels-Willebroek to Vilvoorde, Mechelen and Antwerp. Before the dock was covered at the beginning of the 20th century, many traditional houses from the 17th and 18th century were located along the Bassin des Barques. Some still remain at the Quai au Bois-de-Construction - Timmerhoutkaai (numbers 1-2, 5, 9 and 10).
The Bassin de l'Entrepôt was built on marshy grassland in 1639 and was connected to the Bassin des Barques. The name refers to the first major port warehouse (1781). The front of it is the current rear of the Royal Flemish Theatre (KVS), which was built in 1883-1887. The central pond refers to the dock that was covered at the beginning of the 20th century. The northern side of the dock coincides with the Quai au Foin - Hooikaai. The name refers to the hay that was unloaded here for the horses of the army and urban transport. The Quai aux Pierres-de-Taille - Arduinkaai, on the southern side, recalls the building material that was unloaded at the dock. The dock had many warehouses, like the Quai aux Pierres-de-Taille 20 from the middle of the 17th century.
The 'Quartier Maritime' consisted of the Quai du Commerce, the Boulevard d'Ypres and Dixmude and the Place de l'Yser. It was created at the site of the bassin du Commerce. There are many Art Deco houses from the 1920s and 1930s. The activity is still focused on wholesale. The Bassin du Commerce was built in 1830 and had a capacity of 150 ships. In the west there was a shipyard, with the huge storehouse of L. Spaak (1843-1847).