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A night view of Brussels from the Mont des Arts hill. 
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A night view of Brussels from the Mont des Arts hill.

"The area of the Kunstberg/Mont des Arts used to be a densely populated district, the Sint-Rochuswijk/Quartier Saint Roches. By the end of the 19th century, King Leopold II had the idea to convert the hill into a Mont des Arts and bought the whole neighbourhood. After demolishing the old buildings, the site was turning into an ugly urban void because the Mont des Arts project did not find enough financial resources. To give the neighbourhood, situated between the Royal Palace and the Grand Place, a better look during the Universal Exposition held in Brussels in 1910, the king ordered the landscape architect Pierre Vacherot to design a 'temporary' garden on the hill. It featured a park and a monumental staircase with cascading fountains descending the gentle slope from Place Royale down to Boulevard de l'Empereur/Keizerslaan.

Although the garden was conceived as temporary, it did became a well appreciated green area in the heart of the capital. But when the plans for the Mont des Arts came back by the end of the 1930's, this park had to be demolished to create a new square as the centre of the urban renewal project. Between 1956 and 1958 the park and its surroundings gave way to massive, severely geometric neoclassical structures such as the Royal Library of Belgium and the Congress Palace. The new geometric garden on the square was designed by landscape architect René Péchere.

The Mont des Arts offers one of Brussels’ finest views. From the vantage point on a hill, the famous tower of the Brussels Town Hall at the Grand Place is clearly visible. On a sunny day, the Koekelberg Basilica and even the Atomium can be seen.

Major tourist attractions are located within walking distance from the Kunstberg: the Musical Instrument Museum, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts, the Royal Palace, and the city’s cathedral." (Text from Wikipedia).

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