Belga

Renovation of the Brussels Palace of Justice to be ready by... 2040

The renovation of the Brussels court house, dubbed "Palace of Justice" because of its enormous size, has been going on for decades. While some thought it would come to an end in the coming years, 2040 seems to be the date. Why is this?

Refurbishing works started 30 years ago. Last week, it was announced that they will continue until 2040. Dirk Van Gerven, a member of the Poelaert Foundation - which aims for the modernisation of Justice -  told the VRT's morning radio show "De ochtend" that the façades will be tackled in the next 12 to 13 years.

"Each time, a public tender needs to be issued, and this takes time, two to four years on each occasion. When you take account the different façades, this brings it to 18 years at least. This brings us close to 2040."  

The Palace of Justice is also listed as cultural heritage, which means procedures are taking longer than usual. And of course, the building is so immense that the works take time. It's also complicated from a political point of view, as the approval of several authorities is needed.

Construction was started from 1860 under the reign of King Leopold I and II of the Belgians and designed by architect Joseph Poelaert. At the time, it was considered as the world's biggest building.