Perched along the edge of the Royal Domain of Laeken, the private park surrounding the royal family’s castle, this station once saw the most important people within the country pass through its doors. Its only patrons were members of the monarchy of Belgium and their esteemed guests.
Built in 1887, the station and its accompanying waiting house were King Leopold II’s idea. Known as the “Builder King,” he commissioned buildings and public works projects throughout Brussels. The royal train station is on the smaller scale when compared to his other grand ideas, but that doesn’t mean the sculpture-topped building is any less impressive.
But sadly for this sliver of royal infrastructure, trains haven’t whisked royal passengers to or from the station in over a decade. The last train departed in 2001, and the tiny transportation hub has been abandoned ever since.
It’s possible for adventurous urban explorers to catch a peek of the depot on its sad, lonely spot next to the tracks. Defaced by vandalism and marred by years of neglect, the once-stately station now has a forgotten feel. Be sure you admire the structure from the appropriate side: The wall next to the station marks the border of the Royal Domain. Don’t try to climb over it, unless you want to dine with the King (and face the repercussions for trespassing).
Know Before You Go
Be careful when visiting because the train line is still very much in use today, even though trains don't stop at the station. Urban explorers will realize they need to climb a wall to actually see the historic station.
As of 30 November 2019, this is the best way to get there:
Head south on Chausèe de Vilvordi and make a right on Rue Albert. Find parking anywhere nearby. Walk back to the intersection of Chausèe de Vilvordi and Rue Albert, where you will find an unpaved beaten down path parallel to Rue Albert with an upward incline going to the train line. As you hike up 60 meters, across the train line, you'll be able to see the outer facade of the royal train station.