Koekelberg in Brussels
With the smallest population of the 12 municipalities in Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium, Koekelberg occupies an area of less than two square kilometers. The area is, however, home to the National Basilica of Sacred Hearts (Nationale Basiliek van het Heilig-Hart), which was built in 1705 to honor the 75th year of Belgium’s independence from the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is the largest and most notable building in the neighborhood, and it gives much insight about the history the region.
Located on top of the hill in Parc Elisabeth, the locals refer to the church simply as “the Koekelberg Basilica.” It was built in the Art Deco style of architecture and is the fifth largest church in the world. Although this particular basilica was first imagined by King Leopold II to commemorate Belgium’s 50th anniversary of independence, he was not able to bring his plan to fruition until 25 years later.
Some great restaurants in Koekelberg include La Tamarin, De Markten Café, Francois, and Les Crustaces (excellent seafood!). If you are looking to stay a few nights in Koekelberg, then head on over to Belvedere, which is located on Avenue Emile Bossaert, or if you are seeking something less costly, check out the Youth Hostel Génératon Europe, located on Rue de l'Eléphant.