Project Oud Brussel: 1572 today

Discover the original Brussels of the 16th century, the Crown Jewel of Brabant.

Unraveling Old Brussels

Following my Project Oud Leuven 1649, I am embarking on a new journey with this project to discover the original Brussels using an old map dating from 1572. After Brussels has taken over Leuven as the capital and seat of government of the Duchy of Brabant, it later became the capital of the Imperial Netherlands under the Habsburg Empire. Together, we will uncover this original Brussels of the rich Brabantian culture and history that now seems to have been lost under the layers of modern-day Belgium.

What are the buildings that have remained? How do things look like today, compared to a few hundred years ago? Using Google Map and Google Earth, I superimposed the old map onto the modern day navigation map in order to find the exact location of the lost and existing sights.

Join me in my quest to explore Old Brussels!

The Map of 1572

The map I am using was printed in 1572. It belonged to the first dome entitled “Civitates orbis terrarium” of a six part series of maps produced between 1572 and 1617 by Frans Hogenberg a cartographer printer based in Cologne and Georg Braun, canon of the city’s cathedral. The reason why I chose this map is that it is the earliest map with the original Dutch names of buildings and places of Brussels that have been lost to time.

Het werk is de grootste verzameling plattegronden en illustraties die ooit is verschenen. De stedenatlas bevat 546 kaarten en stadsgezichten van alle belangrijke steden in Europa en steden in Azië, Afrika en Latijns-Amerika. Ruim honderd kunstenaars en cartografen hebben meegewerkt aan deze atlas, die niet alleen plattegronden van steden laat zien maar ook afbeeldingen van mensen in hun landelijke kleding, schepen en topografische afbeeldingen van stad en land.” (Source)

Click below if you wish to download the image file of the map in JPG.

En ik, et Ketsje zëlf, fabrikeir den powezeekes en détail et en gros
en ik veul ma nog straffer as Vondel en as Victor Hugo.
Aswannier ge donc van a leive ne zatlap zeejt,
respekteit em en bezeet em mé takt

Poem "Van een giel klaan moeizeke" in Brussels Dutch dialect by ’t Ketje (Renaat Grassin) 1900 – 1964

List of 56 Sites of Oud Brussel in 1572

As you can see on the 1572 map of old Brussels, the sites are numbered and there is a Legend on the left with the names of each numbered Key. For each of the sites, I produce a page numbered accordingly as on the 1572 Map. Each site is marked with the original 16th century name, in the Brabantian Dutch in contrast with the modern Dutch version. I have also provided later names, either still in Dutch due to popular names or later names in French that came from the 19th century latinization process that accompanied the gentrification and migration stemming from industralisation. Each page tells you the precise location of the site on Google Map, as well as photos of its current state. On top of that, I have found some really interesting sites which are drawn on the map but are unmarked, yet offer a surprisingly interesting perspective today.

Legend:

  • [ ] : Faulty attributions made by the cartographer.
  • *: Site does not exist anymore and is not replaced by a significant building on the same spot.

I. – XXVIII.

  • Lovensche poorte
    Leuvensepoort

    Porte de Louvain, Madou
  • Couyeberch poort
    Nieuwe Koudenbergpoort

    Naamsepoort
  • Oude Brußel poort
    Obbrusselpoort

    Hallepoort
  • Anderlechrsche p
    Anderlechtsepoort
  • Vlemsche poort
    Vlaamsepoort
  • De Lake poort
    Lakensepoort
  • Cuelsche poort
    Keulsepoort

    Schaarbeeksepoort
  • S. Lijsbet
    Sint-Elisabeth op de berg Sion
  • S. Laureÿs
    Sint-Laurentiuskapel
  • S. Goele
    Sint-Goedelekerk

    Collegiale kerk van Sint-Michiel en Sint-Goedele
  • BaghijnHof
    Begijnhof

    Hospice Pachéco
  • De Prekeren
    Predikherenklooster
  • S. Loo
    Sint-Lookapel
  • S Clarißen
    Arme Klaren Grauwzustersklooster
  • S Cornelius gasth
    Sint-Corneliusgasthuis
  • Bekerde Sondersse
    Magdalenaklooster

    Grétrystraat, Rue de Grétry
  • Couwenberch
    Paleis op de Koudenberg, Hof van Brussel

    Koninklijk Paleis te Brussel, Palais Royal de Bruxelles
  • S Madalena
    Maria-Magdalenakerk
  • S Claes
    Sint-Niklaaskerk
  • Minderbrue
    Minderbroedersklooster
  • S Guericx
    Sint-Gorikskerk
  • Op de Sauele
    Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-ter-Zavelkerk
  • Vrouwebrues
    Karmelietenklooster
  • S Iacopsgasthz
    St-Jacobsgasthuis
  • Fratres
    Nazarethklooster van de broeders van het Gemene Leven
  • Swerte Sust
    Zwaartzustersklooster
  • Ter Capellen
    Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-ter-Kapellekerk
  • Sellebrues
    Cellebroedersklooster, Godshuis van de Broeders van de Derde Orde

XXIX. – LVI.

  • Bogaerden
    Bogaardenklooster
  • S. Geleÿns gasthuÿs
    Sint-Gillijnsgasthuis, Sint-Juliaangasthuis
  • S. Peter
    Sint-Pieters-ter-Zieken
  • S. Claren
    Klooster der Rijke Klaren
  • Die Warande
    De Warande
  • Veemart
    Veemarkt
  • Bergen
    Hof van Bergen
  • Regia
    Hof van Keizer Karel
  • Die Grote Guldehof
    Grote Gulden Hof
  • Cancelrije
    Kanselarij
  • S Mertens kerchof
    Sint-Maartenskerkhof
  • Hoochstraten
    Hof van Hoogstraten
  • Atrecht
    Hof van Atrecht, Granvellepaleis
  • Die houtmart
    Houtmarkt
  • Thof van Ludic
    Hof van Ludic
  • Den Werf
    De Werf
  • Aerschot
    Hof van Aarschot
  • Nassue
    Hof van Nassau
  • Die Lombaerde
    Bergen van Barmhartigheid - Lombarden
  • S Ians gasthuys
    Sint-Jansgasthuis
  • Vischmart
    Vismarkt
  • Die groote marct
    De Grote Markt
  • Stathuys
    Stadhuis
  • Die Outmarct
    De Oude Markt
  • Den Pant
    De Pand
  • Verloren cost
    Verlorenkostpoort, Filipspoort
  • Gaesbeck
    Huis van Gaasbeek
  • Egmont
    Egmontpaleis

Extras

Brvxella, incomparabili exemplo septenaria, 1646
The Seven-fold Wonders of Brussels, 1646

After the death of his mentor Justus Lipsius (1547-1606), humanist scholar Erycius Puteanus (Eric van de Putte) (1574-1646) returned to Leuven with his wife in 1606. From 1614 onwards, he lived in the castle on the Keizersberg. From Leuven, he visited the cities around the Duchy of Brabant, and especially Brussels. The result of his visit was a book entitled “Brvxella, incomparabili exemplo septenaria“. After this book, Erycius Puteanus also came up with the Seven Wonders of Leuven. The number Seven has been a fascination for humanists like Puteanus as it mirrors the Seven Wonders of Antiquity. In this “Seven-fold Wonders of Brussels“, Puteanus described in seven poems, the seven churches, seven hospitals, seven bridges etc of Brussels. Notably, Puteanus also listed the genealogy of the Seven Patrician Familes of Brussels (CoudenbergRoodenbekeSerhuyghsSerroelofsSleeusSteenweeghs and Sweerts). What may be fascinating for today’s readers are the woodcuts of Brussels’ main sites back in the seventeenth century.

The idea here is not to list down all these seven wonders, but to supplement sites not listed in the 1572 map.

Straten
Streets

  • Anderlechtse Steenweg
  • Bergstraat
  • Cantersteen
  • Corbaro
  • Crekelendries
  • De Grote Raam
  • Den Zaterdag
  • Drie Molens
  • Duerslach
  • Guldestraat
  • Hoogstraat
  • Lange Ridderstraat
  • Mansfeld
  • Paardenmarkt
    Zavel, Sablon
  • Putborre
  • Rosbemd
  • Schipbrugge
  • Sint-Katelijnedok
  • Steenweg
  • Swaene Straete
    Ooievaarstraat, Rue de la Cigogne
  • Volderstraat
  • Waalse Plaats
  • Warmoesbroek

Kerken
Churches

  • Sint-Annakapel
  • Sint-Joost-ten-Node
  • Sint-Katelijnekerk

Kloosters
Abbeys

  • Regularissenklooster Onze Lieve Vrouw ter Rosen gheplant in Jericho*

Gebouwen
Buidings

  • De Munt
  • Het Manneke Pist
  • Hof van Arenberg
  • Korenhuis

Eerste Omwalling
Inner City Walls

  • Annessenstoren
  • Bogaardenwiket
  • Driesmolenwiket
  • Koudenbergpoort
  • Lakenpoort
  • Leeuwswiket
  • Oude Spui
    Fontainasplein
  • Overmolenpoort
    Sint-Jakobspoort
  • Plebaantoren
  • Ruisbroekwiket
  • Sint-Goedelepoort
    Treurenbergpoort
  • Sint-Katelijnepoort
  • Steenpoort
    Kapellepoort
  • Villerstoren
  • Warmoespoort
  • Wolfswiket
    Sint-Janswiket
  • Zwarte Toren

Tweede Omwalling
Outer City Walls

  • Blauwe Toren
  • Groot Spui
  • Klein Spui
  • Vaartgat
    Oeverpoort
  • Wollendriestoren