This is where the magic happens at night. You will fall in love with Brussels the second you stand in the centre of the Grand’ Place and take in all the beauty of its buildings. And no matter what: you can count on the fact that someone will chat you up there, and mostly in a very charming way that might lead into an evening full of laughter and a couple of drinks.
Most people don’t know a thing about the history of the buildings, which is a true shame.
The Maison du Roi (House of the King) which you can see on the left on the picture above derives its name not from being the home of the king, but because it used to be a courthouse in front of which the hangings were executed IN THE NAME OF THE KING. If you look extremely closely you can make out a figure of a cook specialised in roasting. He is a reference to the nickname of the Brusselers: Kiekenfretters (chicken devourers).
Today it houses the city museum (Musée de la Ville de Bruxelles) in which you can see most of the 600 costumes that were designed and given to the famous icon of the city: Manneken Pis.
These beautiful buildings are the former guild houses as the Grand’ Place used to be the main trading area. Each and everyone of them is decorated with figurines and romanic allusions which refer to the matching guild/trade. Most of all I love the golden one on top of the far right building: splendour. The figures below are allegories of power, grain, wind, fire, water and providence making this house the guild house of the bakers.