Western Districts, Brussels
Running west of Brussels' city center are the regions of Koekelberg and Anderlecht.
Basilique National (Nationale Basiliek)
The Koekelberg district is dominated by the massive Basilique National du Sacré Coeur (Nationale Basiliek van het Heilig Hart), the brainchild of Leopold II and begun in 1905 to mark the country's 75th anniversary. The building was only completed in 1970. Not surprisingly therefore it displays something of a mixture of styles, impressing nevertheless by its sheer size (141m/463ft x 107m/351ft). The picture of Christ giving His blessing which hangs above the altar is by Georges Minne. The dome affords a magnificent view over the city.Just a few steps away from the town center is the fifth largest church in the world, the Basilica of Koekelberg. Inside is an excellent collection of art and an ongoing exhibition on the history of the basilica.From the cupola is a breathtaking view of Doel, Antwerp and many other cities. Binoculars can be rented on-site.
Maison d'Erasme (Erasmushuis)
In 1521 the humanist scholar Erasmus of Rotterdam (1469-1536) lodged for five months in the early 16th C. house still standing today in what is now the Rue du Chapitre (Kapiteelstraat) near the Metro station St-Guidon. In addition to Gothic and Renaissance furnishings the rooms of Maison d'Erasme contain a number of items belonging to the great man. Visitors can see his study and his bedroom, in which latter a first edition of "In Praise of Folly" is displayed. On the ground floor are several interesting paintings, including one by Hieronymus Bosch.
Saints Pierre et Guidon (Sint-Pieter en Guido)
The fine Gothic building seen not far from the Maison d'Erasme is the 14th-16th C. collegiate church of St Peter and St Guido, the distinctive spire of which is a 19th C. addition. As well as a 14th C. arch and some reasonably well preserved medieval wall paintings, the interior boasts an 11th C. five-aisled crypt below the choir, probably originally part of a church above ground. The crypt contains a stone sarcophagus, the tomb of St Guido, patron saint of horses.
Rene Magritte Museum
This museum is housed in the restored property of the surrealist painter Rene Magritte (1898-1967). The first floor contains a library and photographic exhibit. On the second floor, visitors can tour other exhibits related to Magritte's life and work.
Jewish Museum of Belgium
The Jewish Museum of Belgium houses a collection of books, documents and artifacts that reflect the daily, spiritual and cultural life of the Jewish community. There are objects from all over the globe including Africa, Asia and Europe.
Western Districts Pictures
Map of Brussels Attractions