The Marolles: the working-class district of Brussels

Entertainment theveryend December 9, 2016 2 6
The Marolles you can compare a little with Jordan in Amsterdam, a popular neighborhood that gradually loses its original popular character and slowly but surely moving towards a more trendy area.


The Marolles are squeezed between the monumental Palace of Justice and the South Station. More precisely, you can situate it within a pentagon, namely Poelaert, the Boulevard du Midi, the North-South, the Chapel Square and the rue des Minimes.

Origin of the name

Marollen is a corruption of the name of the sister Mariam Colentes order. The name evolved from Mari Collen to Marolles. The sisters wore not only care for the poor, but also lead young girls to maids of the wealthy.


When Brussels in the 12th century got its first city wall, the Marollen there were excluded. They wanted the poor and the lepers Prefer not in the city. At that time the Marollen consisted of three groups: one around the Chapelle, a second at the leprosarium and a third on the marshy meadows of the Senne to the Huidevettersstraat.
At the end of the 14th century, when the city began to burst at the seams and it was obliged to extend beyond the first wall, a second wall was built. Now Marollen it belonged to the city.
In the second half of the 19th century Palais de Justice was built on the Galgenberg. For this prestigious project of Leopold II thousand houses were expropriated and had to yield 60.000 Marolliens. The anger of the population turned against the architect Joseph Poelaert. Since then, the epithet ?? Skieven architek ?? connected to the Marolliens. A café with the same name to the Fox Square reminds the visitor.
When it was late sixties-early seventies, wanted to expand the courthouse and there again was a danger to palms in a piece of the Marolles, there was a resistance movement that eventually failed to avert the danger. The extension was moved to the Louise district.
From 1974 were started several pilot projects for renovation of the district each were delayed so that both King Baudouin and King Albert II were forced to visit the class area in order to bring back shot into the case.
As a result of the rise in prices of housing and speculation of antique dealers of the Sablon moved increasingly affluent citizens to the district. In addition to the antique dealers have also opened stores for interior decoration and trendy restaurants open their doors. Typical of the failed policies of the government was the renovation project to the Jeu de Balle by Annemie Neyts put in motion, in which an old building into a building with social apartments has been transformed, but because ordinary people could not afford those apartments settled there only people high income such as lawyers and the like ??
Since there are now also advertising agencies in the Marolles established and even Olivier Strelli has opened its headquarters, it is obvious that the class character of the district continues to be further reduced.

What is there to see?

Outside the mentioned antiquairwinkels, art galleries and the immense Palace of Justice is the main attraction, of course, the point ?? Flea ?? at the Jeu de Balle. Knowing that in the Marollen nearly 112 different nationalities houses, can you imagine how colorful it every morning to go to the Jeu de Balle.
Furthermore, you've got the Chapelle church with the tomb of Pieter Brueghel the Elder, the Minimes Church St. Peter's Hospital, the old building of the coffee roasting Jacqmotte typical Brussels cafés as ?? The Goudblommeke of paper ??, many medieval houses with stepped gables and narrow alleys and of course everything or anything that has to do with the poverty that so characterizing the district: the Mountain of Mercy, the last pawnshop in the country, the wonderful social area ?? Cité Hellemans ?? and numerous shelters and organizations for the poor and homeless, whose Poverello is best known.
Those interested in comics found at various places in the district facades with beautiful drawings of famous cartoon characters such as Mercury and Flupke, Boule and Bill, and so more.

The mentality

Notwithstanding the Marollen always been a neighborhood of poor souls and the core of the current remaining group still unskilled and often with a living wage must make ends meet, this Marolliens keep a lot of life and they have cultivated a close-knit community spirit. People stick together and love to have fun. One of the major reflectors of this Marolliengevoel is the folk singer Lange Jojo.
The Marolliens you will still back on the street name signs. Besides the official street name is listed, the original name.