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Notes on the Geography of Belgium: Brussels: the Grand Place: Photo 3

world pictures Belgium: Brussels: the Grand Place




Opposite the town hall is this building, which like so many buildings in Europe, is not nearly as old as it looks.  In the 13th century there was a wooden building here used by bakers to sell bread; hence the Dutch name Broodhuis, literally "bread house."  In the 14th century, wood was replaced by stone, but in the 15th century the bakers started selling door-to-door, leaving the building to be taken over for administrative use by the Duke of Brabant. 

That's why the building in French is called the Maison du Roi.  In any case, the building was in poor repair by mid-19th century.  The city bought it and started again, this time copying the 16th century town hall of Oudenaarde.  In 1887 the new building was opened as the city museum.  Goes to show that Americans aren't unique in their frequent attempts to put up buildings that seem instantly old.

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