Known for its imposing Basilica - the 5th largest religious building in the world, inaugurated in 1905 by Leopold II for the 75th anniversary of Belgium's independence - Koekelberg remains marked by the highly contrasting history of its neighbourhoods, defined since 1871 by the North - South rail line.
The historic heart of the commune was once an industrial suburb, of which some vestiges remain to this day (workshops, industries, estaminets and other typical impasses). These are currently the densest and most mixed neighbourhoods in Koekelberg, and have some remarkable social housing complexes built by modernist architects in the 1930s.
Of agricultural origin, the upper part of the commune underwent a more recent urbanisation. In 1880, Leopold II chose the Koekelberg plateau, for its incomparable panoramic view of Brussels, to develop a residential area around a vast landscaped area, the present Elisabeth Park. The park overlooks beautiful symmetrical avenues (Panthéon, Gloires Nationales, etc.) and old mansions, including some masterpieces of Art Nouveau and Art Deco.
Walking through Koekelberg means following in the footsteps of a rich industrial past and discovering a rich heritage with many faces.