Belgium (Southern Netherlands)
Development of the principalities forming modern-day Belgium.
From 1384, the Dukes of Burgundy gradually acquired sovereignty over all the principalities forming modern-day Belgium, except Liege, through marriage, inheritance, purchase and conquest.
The Flemish Primitives
The painting of the “Flemish Primitives” – including Jan Van Eyck, Hans Memling and Rogier Van der Weyden – developed thanks to patronage from the Burgundian dukes.
Order of the Golden Fleece
The Duke of Burgundy, Philip the Good, created the prestigious Order of the Golden Fleece in 1430.
The Habsburg Netherlands
The Netherlands came under the sovereignty of the Habsburgs following the marriage of Mary of Burgundy and Maximilian of Habsburg.
Charles V (1500-1558) reigned over the Netherlands from 1515 to 1555.
Despite the Eighty Years’ War, Baroque “Flemish” painting included several renowned painters.
The Spanish Netherlands
Following the abdication of Charles V in favour of his son Philip II, the kings of Spain gained sovereignty over the Netherlands.
The Austrian Netherlands
Following the War of Spanish Succession, the Southern Netherlands passed under the sovereignty of the Austrian Habsburgs.
The French period
After several disordered years, the Netherlands and Liege were annexed to the French Republic and divided into nine departments.
The United Kingdom of the Netherlands
The nine “Belgian” departments were joined together with the modern-day Netherlands to form the United Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The Belgian revolution
The southern provinces of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands revolted and proclaimed their independence, forming the Kingdom of Belgium.
With a very liberal constitution, the young Belgium supported and encouraged the development of Belgian industry (particularly the steel industry).
Art Nouveau was seen as a modern style of architecture after historicist and eclectic movements.
The First World War
The whole of Belgium was occupied by the German army during WWI, with the exception of the region south of the River Yser.
The Second World War
The whole of Belgium was occupied by German troops during WWII.
A federal state
Belgium became a federal state composed of three regions and three communities.
of Normandy before becoming King of England after the battle of Hastings in
1066, William the Conqueror is the first Norman King of England.
From 1095 to 1291, European armies went
restoring Christian control of the Holy Land by demand of the Pope.
Heiress of the duchy of Aquitaine, Eleanor of
Aquitaine played a great role in the balance of power between the kingdoms of
France and England.
poet in the late 12th century, he is considered to be the inventor
of the modern novel.
Louis IX of France
The reign of Louis 9th was a
« golden age » for France both economically and politically.
Celebrated for his piety, Louis 9th was known for his rightness and
his reform of the royal judicial system.
Hundred Years’ War
For longer than 100 years, France and England
have fought for the right to the French crown. This war greatly damaged France
and introduced new weapons that rapidly defeated the English longbows.
The Great Pestilence
the mid-14th century, Europe suffered greatly from the Black Death, which
Killed up to 60% of Europe’s inhabitants by following commercial paths all the
way to Russia.
Claiming to be guided by God, she led the
French army to many victories during the Hundred Years’ War. Captured, she was
later burned at stake by the English in 1431.
Rabelais is a French Renaissance writer of the 16th century famous
for his Gargantuan series.
I of France
Francis I is not only a true Renaissance’s
Prince but also the founder of Modern France.
Also known as the Great Wars of Italy, they
mostly are the result of the claim of four French Kings, from Charles VIII to
Henri II, on the Kingdom of Naples and the Duchy of Milan.
With Martin Luther, John Calvin is one of the
principal figures of the Protestant Reform in the 16th century’s
Catherine de’ Medici is one of the most
emblematic figure of the 16th century. Queen of France then regent,
she had a great influence on political decisions during the reigns of her three
of Golden Cloth
Also known as the Field of the Cloth of Gold,
the meeting between Henry VIII and Francis I took place between June 7th
and June 24th 1520.
Michel de Montaigne
Famous above all for his Essais, Michel de Montaigne lived in the 16th century
and was not only a writer, but also a moralist, a philosopher and a politician.
IV of France
King of Navarre before becoming King of France in 1589, Henry IV is the first
French king of the Bourbon branch.
Wars of Religion
Reaching its climax on August 24th
1572 with St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre, this civil war between Protestants
and Catholics raged for nearly 40 years in France before coming to an end in
Jean de La fontaine
Jean de la Fontaine is one of the most famous
French fabulist. His work, and especially his Fables, is nowadays seen as one of the 17th century’s
Molière is a famous French playwright and actor of
the second half of the 17th century. He is considered one of the
greatest masters of comedy of French literature.
XIV (1638-1715), king of France from 1643 to 1715
the minority of Louis XIV and the government of his chief minister Mazarin,
the lords and parliaments rebel against royal authority.
XIV and his minister Colbert protect the royal academies and create new ones.
Thereby, artists and scientists are serving the State.
of the Ancients and the Moderns
in 1670, partisans of the Ancients and of the Moderns are opposed in a
of Louis XV of France
XV (1710-1774), King of France from 1715 to 1774.
of Louis XVI of France
XVI (1754-1793), King of France from 1774 to 1791, and King of the French
from 1791 to 1792.
May 1789 with the opening of the Estates-general to November 1799 with the
coup of Napoleon Bonaparte, the French Revolution is a real turnover in
French history and marks the end of the absolute monarchy.
(1769-1821), First Consul (1799-1804) and Emperor of the French (1804-1814).
He was exiled on the island of Saint Helena after his defeat at Waterloo in
Treaty of Versailles
on June 28th 1919, the Treaty of Versailles put an end to the 1st World War.
« Peace » or « Diktat », this Treaty contains the germs
of the causes of a second conflict, 20 years later.
Coudenberg - Former Palace of Brussels (Belgium)
A castle on Coudenberg
There was a castle on Coudenberg hill from the beginning of the 11th century. The Count of Leuven and Brussels stayed there when he was in town.
A ducal manor
The Count of Leuven and Brussels had a manor built on Coudenberg hill, near the castle belonging to the Lord of Brussels.
First set of city walls
The castles belonging to the Duke and to the Lord were located inside the first set of city walls, although the gardens of the ducal manor were outside the walls.
Joanna Duchess of Brabant
Joanna, Duchess of Brabant (1322-1406) was the Duchess of Brabant and Limburg from 1355 to 1406. She frequently spent time in Brussels and helped to enlarge and improve the ducal manor.
Joanna, Duchess of Brabant had substantial changes made to the palace, particularly in the chapel and the corps de logis (main block).
Second set of city walls
The second set of city walls was larger than the first, and included the ducal palace, the gardens and the great animal park.
Duke Philip the Good
Philip the Good succeeded his uncle Philip of Saint Pol. He made Brussels one of the capitals of his possessions.
Philip the Good changed and enlarged his palace in Brussels during his reign: he altered the corps de logis (main block), entrance porch and gardens, and built several successive banqueting halls.
The Aula Magna is built
Philip the Good commissioned the City of Brussels to construct a great banqueting hall – the Aula Magna – between 1452 and 1460.
Charles the Bold made changes to the main corps de logis (main block).
Capital of the Netherlands
The main institutions of the government of the Netherlands, as well as the sovereigns and their representatives, settled permanently in Brussels at the beginning of the 16th century.
Charles V succeeded his father, Philip the Handsome, as sovereign of the principalities forming the Netherlands in 1506. He regularly spent time in his palace in Brussels.
Albrecht Dürer spent time in Brussels during his travels in the Netherlands in 1520-1521. He wrote about the places he visited and illustrated them in many drawings in his journal.
The Gothic chapel
A new chapel was built in the Late Gothic style under the reign of Charles V.
Mary of Hungary enlarged the main corps de logis (main block) to include a grand gallery overlooking the park.
Abdication of Charles V
A princely marriage
Alexander Farnese, son of the Governess General, married Infanta Maria of Portugal at Coudenberg Palace.
Archduke Albert and Infanta Isabella received sovereignty over the Netherlands on the occasion of their marriage.
The Archdukes resided primarily in Brussels and changed the palace’s main corps de logis (main block) and the entrance porch considerably.
Ingelantstraat – a narrow street running along the palace – was re-laid and extended to the Collegiate Church of Sainte-Gudula. It was renamed in honour of Infanta Isabella.
Almost the entire palace was ravaged by fire in 1731. The Court moved to Nassau House.
The “burnt court”
The former palace remained in ruins for 40 years and was known as the “burnt court”.
The new royal district
After 40 years of equivocation, the political will and financial means finally came together for a large-scale architectural project – creating the current place Royale.
The 1935 exhibition
The Brussels International Exhibition of 1935 in Heysel included a life-size reconstruction of part of the former palace.
The vestiges forming the current Coudenberg Archaeological Site were gradually registered as listed buildings.
Several archaeological digs have enabled us to discover a large part of the old ducal palace.
Opening up to the public
The archaeological site was opened up to the public in 2000 and an archaeological museum was opened in 2009.