Top 12 of 2012

Yes, we have to admit: we've been neglecting you guys! First it was the holly jolly christmas period followed by the beer fear of New Year's Eve and then we've topped it of with a week of dolce vita in Italy. But now that we are fully re-energized and back at our desk, we're more then ever motivated to bring you Belgium loving articles!

Last year we've ended the year with a list of the top 11 best-read articles and this year we decided to start the year with the most liked "Ceiling of the day" pictures. Yes, a count-down filled with your favourite I Love Belgium Facebook pics! Although the Facebook updates of Belgian ceilings only started on the 9th of March, it quickly became the most popular item. The first ceiling was reserved for the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Brussels (see article pic). This largest building in Art Deco style in the world holds a cupola ceiling of of 33 metres and collected 11 likes when put online!

Curious about your favourite Belgian ceilings? Let the countdown begin:


12. Verso Ceiling, Antwerp - 36 likes

This impressive building once housed distinguished families and notable banks, but has since been reconverted by established interior architect Glenn Sestig into a single luxury multi-brand fashion boutique Verso. The unique monumental volume characterised by a huge dome with illuminated stained-glass windows was a perfect candidate for a "Ceiling of the day" picture!

I Love Belgium, Blog, Belgian, Ceiling, Day, List, Beautiful, history, architecture, Verso, Antwerp, Glenn Sestig


11. Ice Cellar, Brussels - 38 likes

This Ice Cellar of Brussels is the biggest of its kind in the world and has a remarkable history. When the University of Brussels bought a former garage in 1980, they discovered an enormous underground cellar: 10 meters in depth and width and more then 60 meters in length. It soon became clear that this cellar was in fact a 19th century ice cellar used for food preservation and later on for mushroom cultivation. This "underground cathedral" comes with an impressive brick ceiling which secured its place in the top 12!

I Love Belgium, Blog, Belgian, Ceiling, history, architecture, Brussels, ice, cellar, biggest, world, monument


10. Maison du Peuple, Brussel - 42 likes

The Maison du Peuple was one of the largest works of  Victor Horta. To make the construction (mainly made out of white iron) possible, Horta drew no less than 8,500 square meters of plans. The building was completed in 1899 and was considered a master work because of the experimental combination of brick, glass and steel. The building was however demolished in 1965, in spite of an international protest movement of over 700 architect. The, mainly iron, ceiling of the party hall was one of the finest examples of Art-Nouveau (ceilings)!

I Love Belgium, Blog, Belgian, Ceiling, Day, List, Beautiful, history, architecture,horta, iron, art nouveau, brussel, destruction


9. Magic Mirrors, Brussels - 4 likes

With its intriguing interior of carved wood, polished mirrors, crystal, lead-light and lavish upholstery this party tent was the perfect setting for a night out on the town! This Art-Deco tent from 1932 was rescued from oblivion when discovered and patched up by owner Joey Meder. They started with parties in March 2011 and stayed on the site of Tour & Taxis until last December. Due to works on the site, Magic Mirrors is currently searching for a new location in Brussels. So one day you'll be able to dance (again) underneath a delightful ceiling!

I Love Belgium, Blog, Belgian, Ceiling, Day, List, Beautiful, history, architecture, mirror, tent, art deco, party


8. Den Bell, Antwerp - 49 likes

Den Bell is an architecture icon in Antwerp. This skyscraper was designed by architect Hugo Van Kuyck and stood symbol for the economic growth in the fifties and sixties. Build in the expo year of 1958, this 57 meters high building was an example of modernity and represented the power of telephone company "Bell Telephone Manufacturing C°". After an intense renovation, the building serves as the new administrative centre of the city of Antwerp. And with a staircase that gives you this optic ceiling effect, who needs an elevator?

I Love Belgium, Blog, Belgian, Ceiling, Day, List, Beautiful, history, architecture, den bell, administration, modernism, icon, skyscraper


7. Le Passage de la Bourse, Charleroi - 49 likes

The Passage de la Bourse was built between 1890 and 1893 and therefore one of the first shopping galleries in Belgium. Although it may be confused with its more famous counterpart, Galeries St Hubert in Brussels, this gallery distinguishes itself by its elegant curve. Build during the industrial revolution of Charleroi, the gallery reflects this period of wealth in an neo-classical architecture which includes Corinthian pillars and wood carved shop fronts.  But its true gem stays the lightweight iron and glass ceiling!

I Love Belgium, Blog, Belgian, Ceiling, Day, List, Beautiful, history, architecture, charleroi, glass, gallery, passage de la bourse


6. Centrale Werkplaats - Leuven

These empty halls once housed big train way industries. From 1860 to 1993 these railway maintenance workshops where buzzing with activity, today the site with its enormous halls is being converted into a lively neighbourhood. Until then you can still enjoy abandoned industrial beauty!

I Love Belgium, Blog, Belgian, Ceiling, history, architecture, leuven, centrale werkplaats, trainway, workshop


5. Maritime Station, Brussels - 57 likes

This gigantic customs clearance and goods warehousing complex became at the beginning of the 21th century the central hub for the transit of merchandise through the capital. During the sixties the Maritime Station, located at Tour & Taxis, saw its heyday with more than 3,000 workers on the site. But just a few years later, it gradually lost its raison d’être with the opening of European customs centres. Once abandoned, the buildings progressively deteriorate and the entire site was eventually put up for sale. Today the warehouses host several events and continues to draw people in for its extraordinary industrial architecture.

I Love Belgium, Blog, Belgian, Ceiling, Day, List, Beautiful, history, architecture, brussels, industrial, gare maritime,


4. De Nederhinne, Broechem - 59 likes

This farm, which dates back to the beginning of the 17th century, was fully restored by its owner in the seventies. At the same time he bought a farmers shed dating back from 1501. In 1977 they demounted the building to reconstruct it following old construction techniques. The result? One hell of a wooden ceiling!

I Love Belgium, Blog, Belgian, Ceiling, Day, List, Beautiful, history, architecture,de nederhinne, broechem, wood, construction, farm, shed


3. City hall, Ghent - 43 likes

We enter the top 3 with a contemporary building! The multifunctional and open city hall is an architectural masterpiece designed by the architect duo Robbrecht and Daem.  This city centre a-location used to host a parking lot, today it hosts concerts, dance performances and markets. Yet it is the roof structure and the use of glass, wood and concrete that will strike you! Just take a stroll underneath and look up...

I Love Belgium, Blog, Belgian, Ceiling, Day, List, Beautiful, history, architecture,contemporary, ghent, robbrecht daem, cityhall,


2. Stock Exchange, Antwerp - 61 likes

And the runner up is: the Antwerp stock exchange ceiling! The current building is a reconstruction from 1872. The original building, "the mother of all fairs", dated from 1531. The stock exchange is in a late Brabant Gothic style by architect Joseph Schadde. Twice in its history, the stock exchange burned down. Once in 1583 and the second time in 1858. This site will reopen to the public in 2014 after an extensive restoration. It will host a restaurant, event space and five-star hotel! So worth the wait...

I Love Belgium, Blog, Belgian, Ceiling, Day, List, Beautiful, history, architecture, stock exchange, antwerp, renovation, midieval


1. Stadsfeestzaal, Antwerp - 66 likes

And the winner is.... the Stadsfeestzaal of Antwerp! The "Stadsfeestzaal" (translate as City Party Hall) was originally built in 1908 for official festivities. Yet in earlier years the Stadsfeestzaal became an event hall for different occasions: a bookfair or a Christmasfair, exhibitions, studentparties,... A big fire in 2000 destroyed the whole Stadsfeestzaal. It took over 7 years to rebuild this spectacular location. It was reopened as a shopping mall in October 2007. Since then people can enjoy the magnificent gold-leafed ceiling or as the I Love Belgium team likes to call it: Belgians finest ceiling!

I Love Belgium, Blog, Belgian, Ceiling, Day, List, Beautiful, history, architecture, antwerp, renovation, fire, stadsfeestzaal, gold leaf, shopping

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