First restored part of Justice Palace’s facade in Brussels unveiled

The first restored part of the facade of Brussels' Justice Palace was unveiled on Friday. The facelift of the building’s front should be complete at the end of next year, the entire restoration project in 2030. The works began after about 40 years of waiting, so that many people only know the building as being encased in scaffolding.

The first restored part is at the top of the front facade and overlooks Place Poelaert. It is topped by a 3m-high bust of the Roman goddess of wisdom, Minerva, which has also been renovated.

The renovation of the facade, which covers almost 23,000 square metres, is a labour-intensive process. The stones and decorative elements are cleaned one by one and carefully repaired or replaced when necessary. Around 70 to 80 people are working on it every day.

The federal Buildings Agency began the first phase of the restoration of the front facade in August 2023. This phase also involves a complete redesign of the forecourt and a renovation of the colonnade. The first phase should be completed by the end of 2025. The next phase, in 2026 and 2027, will focus on the base of the dome. The final step will be the restoration of the other facades.

"This project has been dragging on for 40 years and although there have been many obstacles, this symbolic first phase is now complete," said secretary of state Mathieu Michel. "The works will now continue until all facades are renovated. It should be finished, as planned, in 2030."

This would mean that all scaffolding would be gone when Belgium celebrates its 200th anniversary as an independent nation.


Bust of Minerva on the first renovated part of the Brussels Justice Palace's facade © BELGA PHOTO JONAS ROOSENS

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