- 1 Botanical Garden (Kruidtuin), Koningsstraat 236 ( ), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. The original botanical garden is used as a park and its greenhouse as a concert venue. It started in the 18th century as a small plot in the garden of the former palace of Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine, but it became under threat in 1826 when the Royal Library and several other projects sought to reclaim the area. To preserve the collection, a collective of herbalists and botanists acquired a new plot of land just outside the city walls, which by then consisted of a collection of ponds, woods and allotments. The area was reorganized by architect Charles-Henri Petersen, and opened as the botanical garden of the city in 1829, just before Belgium gained its independence. The garden saw expansions in 1842 and 1854 and became popular among locals who, in those days, did not have the opportunity to travel, and saw many exotic plants in the garden for the first time. Although the garden was sponsored by the government from 1837 onwards, mismanagement caused the garden to slip into debt, and the owners were forced to sell land to allow construction of the North Station, and also started to sell off the botanical collection itself, which endangered the original didactic and scientific purposes of the garden. The government intervened and purchased the garden in 1870, thereby preserving its panorama and function as a park and for scientific purporses. Many areas saw reconstruction, and many decorations, rock arrangements, greenhouses etc. date from this period. The garden flourished and remained popular, but became under increased pressure by civil construction projects, most notably the expansion of the North-South railway link, the expansing of the inner ring causeway after the city walls were demolished, and the St. Lazare street which slices the park. It became impossible to maintain the botanical collection, and it was decided to move it to Meise, a town to the North of Brussels near Grimbergen. The park underwent its last restauration in 1958 for the World Fair, when architect René Pechère harmonized it after the relocation of much of the collection to Meise. It became a protected monument in 1964. Curiously, the botanical garden is credited with the invention of witloof, a local specialty, and the dark outgrowns of chicory. According to an urban legend, witloof was first created in the mushroom cellar of the botanical garden when Frans Breziers forced chicory to grow in the dark in 1850. Witloof is nowadays a popular vegetable in Brussels and Flanders, and can be purchased in most grocery stores in season. Its white leaves are refreshing and crunchy, although they have a rather bitter taste. It can be eaten fresh, or takes on a sweeter taste after cooking. Free.
- North Station building. Erected in an Art Déco style.
- 2 Museum Kanal (Centre Pompidou), Akenkaai, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 12:00-22:00, closed on Tuesdays. Museum for modern art in a former Citroën showroom. €14.
On the east side of the North Station, the Brussels Red Light District occupies Aarschot St. and surrounding streets.
Plenty of overpriced veggie bars around the district, and many shops in the station building as well.
When you're waiting for a connecting coach, the 1 Starbucks inside the North Station can offer warmth and power sockets; you are not obliged to buy their overpriced drinks.
Do not venture too far away from the Nord-Noord station and the surrounding business district because several rough areas are nearby, including the red light district.
- Directly south of the business district is the Brussels Pentagon district.