Hidden Belgium: The lost racecourse

Hidden Belgium: The lost racecourse

A strange forgotten pavilion stands deep in the forest to the south of Brussels. It was built by King Albert I in 1924 as a royal lodge overlooking the Groenendaal racecourse.

The racecourse had been founded 35 years earlier by Leopold II. Once the meeting place of European high society, it had its own railway station, elegant wrought iron grandstands and betting shops. But it closed in 1991, leaving just the isolated royal lodge, which was restored in 2016 as a venue for weddings and meetings.

You can track down a second racecourse used for training in the woods to the north. Enclosed by earth embankments, this course is still used by local horse riders.

Derek Blyth’s hidden secret of the day: Derek Blyth is the author of the bestselling “The 500 Hidden Secrets of Belgium”. He picks out one of his favourite hidden secrets for The Brussels Times every day.

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