Saint Jacques-sur-Coudenberg

Brussels, Belgium

Saint Jacques-sur-Coudenberg is a neoclassical church located in the historic square of Place Royale in central Brussels. The medieval abbey church that originally stood on this location was demolished by command of Charles Alexander of Lorraine during his expansive urban planning projects, despite having escaped the great fire of 1731 that destroyed the nearby Coudenberg Palace. The new church was built in line with rue Montagne de la Cour/Hofberg on its present location at the Place Royale. Construction of the facade was started by architect Gilles-Barnabé Guimard after the designs of Jean-Benoît-Vincent Barré (1775). The first stone was solemnly laid by Charles Alexander of Lorraine on the 12th of February 1776. The portico was finished in 1780. The nave, transept, choir and sacristy were built under supervision of Louis Montoyer in the years 1785-1786. After the consecration of the building it was in use as abbey- and parishchurch at the same time. Moreover it was the official church of the court of the Governors of the Habsburg Netherlands. The present building was designed to serve as the Church of the Abbey of Saint-Jacques on the Coudenberg and therefore has a deep extended choir with place for choir stalls for the monks.

During the French Revolution, the abbey was suspended and the church was made into a Temple of Reason, and then later into a Temple of Law. The church was returned to Catholic control in 1802. On July 21, 1831, Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha took the oath that made him H.M. Leopold I, the first King of the Belgians, on the front steps of the church. The building lost somewhat of its typical neoclassical temple-like appearance by the addition in the 19th-century of a bell tower (after the design of Tilman-François Suys) and a coloured fresco by Jean Portaels on the pediment.

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Founded: 1776
Category: Religious sites in Belgium

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4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Yasser Ashfaq (2 years ago)
is a neoclassical Roman Catholic church located on the historic Place Royale/Koningsplein in central Brussels, Belgium. The medieval abbey church that originally stood on this location was demolished by command of Charles Alexander of Lorraine, Governor of the Austrian Netherlands, during his expansive urban planning projects, despite having escaped the great fire of 1731 that destroyed the nearby Coudenberg Palace. The new church was built in line with Rue Montagne de la Cour/Hofberg on its present location. During the French Revolution, the abbey was suspended and the church was made into a Temple of Reason, and then later into a Temple of Law. The church was returned to Catholic control in 1802. On 21 July 1831, Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha took the oath that made him H.M. Leopold I, the first King of the Belgians, on the front steps of the church. The church's interior and facade have been protected through royal decree since 2 December 1959.
macedonboy (3 years ago)
Saint-Jacques on the Coudenberg is a church at the eastern end of Place Royale and dominates the square on higher ground and the monumental size compare to the other buildings in the square. Like virtually all the squares in the building, the church is built in the Neoclassical style especially evident by the portico of the building which has hexastyle columns, topped with a pediment with scenes with the adoration of the infant Christ. The exterior is definitely much beautiful than the interior though. Inside, the church is pretty bland and painted white everywhere. There's not much in the way of stained glass windows or chapels as would be expected in a church occupying such a prominent location. There are two fantastic paintings on either end of the transepts, "Venite ad me" and "Cosummatum est" which are worth seeing. The exterior is defintely much beautiful than the interior though.
Neil Bailey (3 years ago)
Stop by and head in if you are in the area, but if you can only go to one cathedral go to Cathédrale des Sts Michel et Gudule. However there is some impressive artwork inside so it is worth the visit
Udal Degli Uberti (3 years ago)
Neoclassic church rebuilt on the original gothic Saint Jacques. Plans and maquettes of old and new church are available in the Coudenberg Museum under the Royal Square.
Cosmin Oance (3 years ago)
Imposing building next to the courthouse. The interior is a bit bland, nothing breathtaking or special. The proximity to the museum of fine arts and the palace gardens make it worthwhile.
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