Just two paces from the royal palace of Laeken, the church, which is on a small remodelled square, is a Neo-Gothic building which is worth a visit, above all, for its close association with the royal family.
It was built on the instigation of Leopold I, following the death of Queen Marie-Louise in 1850, after plans by the architect Poelaert. The church was consecrated in 1894 but only completed in 1909.It shelters the crypt where members of the royal family are buried.
In the choir of the church, which is no longer used for services, there is a permanent exhibition dedicated to the life and works of Cardinal Joseph Cardijn, the founder of the “Young Catholic Workers”. He was vicar at Laeken and started his action here for the emancipation of working class youths.
Also in the church is a bust of Monseigner Van Waeyenbergh, from Laeken and the rector of the University of Louvain during the 1940-45 war. There is a polychrome, Romanesque statue of the Virgin in wood, the cult of the Virgin being very much alive here for a long time. One came on pilgrimage here to pray to Our Lady to console the afflicted and to ask for good weather for crops.
The neighbouring cemetery is also visited by those interested in funeral art. It contains many graves of well known 19th century personalities.