Belgium Royal Greenhouse complex opens to the public during a fortnight exposing the collection of plants in its splendor, when most flowers are in full blossom. It is an excellent opportunity to enjoy both the wonderful architectural creations of the pioneer of Belgian Art Nouveau – Alphonse Balat and a distinguished plant collection. The complex offers an impressive variety of rare plants and flowers, a majority of which date back to King Leopold II original collection.
This year Greenhouses are accessible from Friday April 19 to Friday May 10 2019 including. They are also visited by heads of state during official visits all year round. Among guests of honor First Lady of the United States Melania Trump enjoyed beauty of plants blossom during an excursion guided by Queen Mathilde of Belgium in 2017.
In 1909, there were 314 species of camellias in the royal collection in Laeken, with more than 1000 plants. Nowadays only 305 remain. The camellias are the world’s largest and oldest collection in a greenhouse.
Although stunning in its floral beauty, the complex was also conceived to host high profile receptions and conferences under auspices of the Belgium Royal family.
Famous across the globe the royal botanic collection, with old exotic plants from Africa and various species of flowers which are cultivated inside the royal greenhouses, many of them flourish since times of King Leopold II ( )
The Winter Garden was built in 1874 -1876 and was the first greenhouse in Europe to be built. Its immense dimensions and spacious interior design hosting a wide variety of palm trees to grow and expand extensively in symbiosis with the other plants.
With the design of the Royal Greenhouses, Balat have chosen to introduce the innovation of glass and iron into his prestigious decoration motifs, intertwining them with flowers and plant leaves. Deriving from this concept, he erected a magic Glass City set in a classical landscape. Balat made a first step towards the Art Nouveau architecture, his disciples and followers would develop.
The gardens date back to the 18th century, but King Leopold II decided to modernise its garden-architecture, and commissioned and designed new look to Alphonse Balat (1873). Today the greenhouses of Laeken are considered as exceptional artefacts of Art Nouveau.
Balat dedicated a great deal of his artistic research to a stylistically innovative combination of Renaissance and Neoclassical elements. For most of his interior designs, he favored elements from the French kings Louis XV and Louis XVI styles.