Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Royal Palace

While we were in Brussels on Saturday, we had the opportunity to tour the Royal Palace.  The palace is only open for a few weeks each year and is free! (Kyle's favorite price)

The palace is the palace for the King of the Belgians (there is also a King of Belgium).  Apparently one king has the land and the other gets the people.  When I have a better grasp of Belgian history I may be able to explain this better.

Anyways the Royal Palace was quite lovely.  We toured the public sitting rooms, a hall of mirrors, the throne room, music room, etc.  Cameras were not allowed so, all interior shots are from the internet.

This is a portrait of King Leopold in the creatively named White Room.  King Leopold's was quite the dashing figure and we come across portraits of him frequently.

The most remarkable room was the one in which the ceiling panels and the central chandelier were covered with the wings of Thai jewel beetles.  The ceiling glimmered with movement and light.  The photo doesn't do it justice but at least you get an idea of the scale of the project.

In two of the larger public rooms, museum exhibits had been installed.   Each year the royals choose a theme and then have museums bring in an exhibit.  One exhibit explored how humans have portrayed animals (sculpture, taxidermy, etc) and the other was a hands on science exhibit.  They were an odd and incongruous addition to a palace open house, but I guess it is a way to bring museums to a new audience.

Overall it was a pleasant tour and part of our introduction to Brussels.

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