I know that I had planned a completely different post for today, but due to unforeseen circumstances, I have to postpone this to next week. Instead, let’s return to Belgium!
Today we will have a look at one of the most beautiful crypts in Belgium, the Laeken Cemetery Crypt. This is not to be confused with the Royal Crypt of Belgium, which you can find underneath the nearby Church of Our Lady of Laeken; as the name suggests, this is the burial place of the Belgian Royals. The Laeken Cemetery Crypt, on the other hand, stretches out under Laeken Cemetery itself, which is one of the oldest and most beautiful cemeteries in Belgium. Many famous Belgians are buried here and the cemetery is also known for its magnificent tombs and works of art.
Laeken Cemetery is located in Laeken, a municipality to the north of Brussels. It is the home of the Royal Castle (not to be confused with the Royal Palace in the Belgian capital itself) and the Royal Greenhouses.
When you enter the cemetery, just follow the main path until you can go no further and then turn left. You will see this building:
Just take the stairs downstairs.
There are three tunnels in the crypt, similar to the main paths in the cemetery above. They were constructed at the end of the 19th century. The most recent burials date from 1978, when the crypt had already been neglected for a long time. Due to liquifying coffins and exploding caskets, the place was a nasty state. More than 30 years later, the local government restored the crypt and in 2017 it was open again to the general public.
Although the crypt is in a lot better state now -most of the mold and the rust are gone, walking around in the many galleries still gives you an eerie feeling.
The Cemetery Itself
…is also worth a visit.
The address: Leopold I-straat, 66, 1020 Laeken.
The cemetery is open every day, from 8.30 am to 4 pm.
At the entrance you can park your car. There is also a metro nearby (stop: Bockstael) and trams 62 and 93 pass in the neighbourhood as well.