The Royal Greenhouses of Laeken (Serres Royales de Laeken) are a complex of greenhouses at the castle of Laeken. The greenhouses were built by Alphonse Balat by order of King Leopold II. Build in the Art Nouveau style they are architecturally amazing. Only three weeks a year this complex is open for the public to admire. After having seen beautiful photos of the greenhouses online I decided to make the trip down to Laeken (Brussels).
Location: Koninklijk Parklaan 61, 1020 Brussels, Belgium
Open: 3 weeks a year
Price: 2,50 EUR
Opposite the Serre complex is an area where you can park, but the greenhouses are also easily accessible by public transport. Several buses stop near the greenhouses. From the Brussels Gare du Nord train station you can take tram 7 to the De Wand stop, after which you have to walk a short distance (500m) to the complex.
The entry to the gardens is through an amazing orangery with beautiful citrus trees in- and outside. The lovely scent of citrus flowers greets you when you come near the entrance.
This is not a typical botanical garden but very much a private collection, as such you it’s much more personal than a garden focused on conservation or research. For example there are many tree ferns and a lot of geraniums (which I found an odd plant to grow in these beautiful greenhouses).
The highlight of the greenhouse complex was the Winter Garden. This 30 meter high dome is filled with plants like palms, strelitzias, bananas and a lot of smaller understory planting.
Amazing greenhouses with beautiful architecture. The variety in the botanical collection is somewhat limited. The complex is only open three weeks a year and unfortunately you can tell; it is super busy. In addition there is only a fixed route through the complex which can not be deviated from. This results in long waiting lines to visit parts of the garden which is a real shame. ★★★☆☆