One of the city’s most striking landmarks, the National Basilica of the Sacred Heart was built to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Belgian independence. King Leopold II laid the first stone of the Roman Catholic basilica and parish in 1905. World War I delayed construction and it took nearly 60 years to complete. Today the Art Deco style monument with its red brick and distinctive green dome holds two museums and is one of the five largest churches in the world.
Visitors can marvel at the size and design of the basilica from the outside or climb the interior for some of the best views of Brussels and the Flemish Brabant countryside. Walking out onto the platform near the top of the basilica dome grants panoramic views almost 80 meters up from the ground. There are also eight bright stained glass windows depicting the life of Jesus that were designed by Belgian painter Anto Carte.
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart is located in the Koekelberg suburb of western Brussels. It is open from 9 am to 5 pm during the summer months, with shorter winter hours from 10 am to 4 pm. Entrance to the basilica is free, and to visit the top of the dome is €5. The nearest metro stop is Simonis.