Did you know that the Basilica of Koekelberg is the largest building in art deco style in the world?
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Belgian King Leopold II commissioned the construction of a monument on the hill of Koekelberg. For the 75th anniversary of the independence of Belgium, he wished to construct a sanctuary in honour of the Sacred Heart, with the Basilica of the Sacré-Coeur in Paris as the main example.
In 1905 King Leopold II laid the first stone of the church in Gothic style. However, the First World War threw a spanner in the works, and only the ground works were completed. After the war, the initial project was suspended due to the poor state of the Belgian Treasury.
Afterwards, the Ghent architect Albert Van Huffel was hired to create a new design, as the Gothic style had become outdated. The construction of the new building in art deco style was started in 1926, however it would take until 1970 before the basilica was completed.
With a total length of 164.5 metres, the Basilica of Koekelberg is the largest art deco building in the world, and the sixth longest church in the world. As the church is on a hill, the monumental character of the basilica is emphasized even further.