Looking west from over the Belliard tunnel
|Location||City of Brussels, Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium|
Rue de la Loi (French) or Wetstraat (Dutch), meaning "Law Street", is a principal road running through central and eastern Brussels (Belgium) which is famous due to the presence of several notable Belgian and EU governmental buildings. The road runs from Rue Royale/Koningsstraat, in the centre of Brussels, to the Schuman roundabout in its European Quarter. It forms the first (westerly) part of the N3 road that runs to Aachen, Germany.
The term Rue de la Loi or Wetstraat is used as a metonymy for government in Belgian media because the Belgian Federal Parliament stands at the beginning of this street and the office of the prime minister is located at number 16. At the far end is the Berlaymont building on the Schuman roundabout and the Cinquantenaire beyond that. Shortly before the roundabout is the exit ramp from the tunnel under the roundabout and Cinquantenaire.
The street starts as a continuation of Rue des Colonies/Koloniënstraat at the crossroads with Rue Royale/Koningsstraat. Immediately to the south is Parc/Park metro station and Brussels' Park. To the north is the Belgian Parliament building; the Palace of the Nation. The Théâtre Royal du Parc is also situated there.
The road was redeveloped into a higher capacity one-way thoroughfare in 1969 with the first metro line being built under it, along with two decks of underground parking between the metro line and the road. In 2001 it was proposed that one of the five traffic lanes should be removed and the pavements widened to include cyclepaths. This, together with an overall facelift, was completed on 7 September 2003. Immediately there were calls for the reversal of traffic flow (see redevelopment below).
As part of plans to improve the image of the European Quarter, the eastern part of Rue de la Loi (between the small ring and Chaussée d'Etterbeek) will be rebuilt. In April 2008 the Brussels-Capital Region (the regional authority), together with the European Commission and the City of Brussels (the local authority) launched an international urban design competition to redevelop the area as an eco-district, concentrating on improving pedestrian and public transport access. They stated it should include more public spaces and have a "strong symbolic identity" with high environmental and architectural standards. Furthermore, they aimed to diversify the area by bringing in more housing, cultural and leisure areas while simultaneously increasing the area occupied by the Commission from 170,000 m2 to 400,000 m2 – doubling the building density along the street.
In March 2009, a French-Belgian-British team led by French architect Christian de Portzamparc won the competition and European Commissioner for Administrative Affairs, Audit and Anti-Fraud Siim Kallas stated that the project, which would be put into action gradually rather than all at once, would create a "symbolic area for the EU institutions" giving "body and soul to the European political project" and providing the Commission with extra office space. The road would be reduced from four lanes to two, and be returned to two-way traffic (rather than all west-bound) and the architects proposed a tram line to run down the centre. A series of high-rise buildings would be built on either side with three 'flagship' skyscrapers at the east end on the north side. Brussels Minister-President Charles Picqué described the towers as "iconic buildings that will be among the highest in Brussels" and that "building higher allows you to turn closed blocks into open spaces."The tallest towers at the eastern end would be subject to a separate architectural competition and would be symbolic of the Commission. The freed-up space (some 180,000m2) would be given over to housing, shops, services and open spaces to give the area a more "human" feel. A sixth European School may also be built. On the western edge of the quarter, on the small ring, there would be "gates to Europe" to add visual impact.
The general quarter master plan saw not only the road being reduced from four lanes to two, but the tunnel entrance being covered as far as the Résidence Palace, and a new square between Rue d'Arlon/Aarlenstraat and Rue de Trêves/Trierstraat.
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The City of Brussels is the largest municipality and historical centre of the Brussels-Capital Region, and the capital of Belgium. Besides the strict centre, it also covers the immediate northern outskirts where it borders municipalities in Flanders. It is the administrative centre of the European Union, thus often dubbed, along with the region, the EU's capital city.
The Berlaymont is an office building in Brussels, Belgium, which houses the headquarters of the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union (EU). The structure is located at Schuman roundabout at 200, Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat, in what is known as the "European Quarter". The unique form of the Berlaymont's architecture is used in the European Commission's official emblem.
The Parc du Cinquantenaire or Jubelpark is a large public, urban park of 30 ha in the easternmost part of the European Quarter in Brussels, Belgium.
The Parc de Bruxelles or Warandepark (help·info) (Dutch), is the largest urban public park in the centre of Brussels, Belgium. The area of the rectangular park is 13.1 ha. The main entrance is on the north side, opposite the Belgian House of Parliament. An avenue leads to the main pond, from which three other avenues offer views of three important places in Brussels: the Palace of Justice, the Royal Palace and the Place du Trône/Troonplein.
Parc (French) or Park (Dutch) is a Brussels metro station located beneath Brussels' Park in central Brussels (Belgium). It has one entrance, at the intersection of Rue Royale/Koningsstraat and Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat, two of the main roads of the City of Brussels.
Schuman is a railway and metro station in the City of Brussels located above the Schuman metro station. The station serves the European quarter of Brussels.
Maelbeek or Maalbeek is a Brussels metro station in the City of Brussels (Belgium). It opened as a premetro station on 17 December 1969 and became a full metro station on 20 September 1976. Following the reorganisation of the Brussels metro on 4 April 2009, it is served by lines 1 and 5, which cross Brussels from east to west. The name of the station originates from the Maalbeek stream.
The Justus Lipsius building, located in Brussels, Belgium, was the headquarters of the Council of the European Union from 1995, and the de facto home of the European Council from 2002, until their relocation to the adjacent newly constructed Europa building at the beginning of 2017. The building, which has a gross surface area of 227,278 m2, still provides for additional meeting rooms, office space and press facilities for both institutions. It consists of 17 conference rooms with at least 10 interpretation booths each, 5 other meeting rooms and 2 rooms for official meals. It also provides 40,048 m2 of offices for both institutions' shared General Secretariat. An onsite press centre is also featured, which can be extended during summits with up to 600 seats in the atrium. It is linked, via means of two skyways and a service tunnel, to the Europa building.
Brussels (Belgium) is considered the de facto capital of the European Union, having a long history of hosting a number of principal EU institutions within its European Quarter. The EU has no official capital, and no plans to declare one, but Brussels hosts the official seats of the European Commission, Council of the European Union, and European Council, as well as a seat of the European Parliament. In 2013, this presence generated about 250 million euros and 121,000 jobs.
The Charlemagne building is a high-rise in the European Quarter of Brussels, which houses the Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs, the Directorate-General for Trade and, since 2015, the Internal Audit Service of the Commission.
The Leopold Quarter is a quarter of Brussels, Belgium. Today the term is sometimes confused with the European Quarter, as the area has come to be dominated by the institutions of the European Union and organisations dealing with them, although the two terms are not in fact the same, with the Leopold Quarter being a smaller more specific district of the municipalities of the City of Brussels, Etterbeek, Ixelles and Saint-Josse-ten-Noode.
Schuman Roundabout, sometimes called Schuman Square, is a roundabout at the end of the Wetstraat / Rue de la Loi in Brussels that serves as a focus for major institutions of the European Union (EU).
Jean Rey Square is a square in the European Quarter of Brussels (Belgium) inaugurated in 2001. The headquarters of some of the major EU institutions are located on or close to this square, including those of the Council and the Parliament.
The Lex building is a high-rise of government offices in the European Quarter of Brussels (Belgium). It is an annex building of the Council of the European Union and is located at Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 145.
The Jardin de la vallée du Maelbeek (French) or Maalbeekdaltuin (Dutch) is a small green space on the corner of Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat and Chaussé d'Etterbeek/Etterbeeksesteenweg at the heart of the European Quarter of Brussels (Belgium). It was inaugurated on 13 May 1951.
Avenue de Tervueren (French) or Tervurenlaan is a major thoroughfare in Brussels, Belgium. It runs from Merode in the west, connects with Montgomery Square, passes through Woluwe-Saint-Pierre and the Ring at Quatre Bras, and finishes at the park in Tervuren.
Rue Belliard (French) or Belliardstraat (Dutch) is a major street in Brussels, Belgium. The street runs parallel to Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat. Both are one-way streets; where traffic in Rue de la Loi runs in the western direction towards Brussels' city centre, Rue Belliard runs in the eastern direction, away from the city centre.
Gédéon-Nicolas-Joseph Bordiau (1832–1904) was a Belgian architect, active in the second half of the nineteenth century. His work includes the plans for the Cinquantenaire exhibition parc and buildings, the project for the North-Eastern Quarter, Hotel Metropole and other notable buildings in Brussels.
The Cinquantenaire Arcade is a monumental triple triumphal arch in the centre of the Parc du Cinquantenaire/Jubelpark in Brussels, Belgium. It is topped by a bronze quadriga sculptural group with a woman charioteer, representing the Province of Brabant personified raising the national flag.
Schuman is a Brussels metro station in the City of Brussels (Belgium). It opened as a premetro station on 17 December 1969 and became a full metro station on 20 September 1976. Following the reorganisation of the Brussels metro on 4 April 2009, it is served by lines 1 and 5, which cross Brussels from east to west.