Koekelberg, TOWARDS THE SEA
Koekelberg is one of the smallest municipalities in the Brussels region and one of the most densely populated in Belgium (almost 17,900 inhabitants per km2). The railway line that has linked the North Station to the South Station since 1871-1872 divides it into two parts: on one side, a residential district of agricultural origin to the northwest and on the other, a lower part characterized by workers' housing, a mixed and dense habitat, to the southeast.
Originally, Koekelberg was a small rural hamlet situated in the valley of the Paruck stream. Governed by a seigniory that ensured its independence, the entity lived at a distance from the neighbouring city of Brussels. In the 19th century, industrial activities were set up in the vicinity of the south-eastern part, mentioned above. Under Leopold II (1865-1909), urbanisation continued on the plateau to the west, with a well-off neighbourhood around Elisabeth Park. At the end of this green area, the National Basilica of Koekelberg, the 5th largest church in the world, was built.
Photos : Pascal Abundes