Hidden Belgium: A street of Art Nouveau houses

Hidden Belgium: A street of Art Nouveau houses

It’s not the city’s most beautiful street. But Rue Vanderschrick in Brussels is lined with Art Nouveau houses.

The architect Ernest Blérot designed all 17 houses on the north side of this street in a flamboyant Art Nouveau style.

Each house is decorated differently, with bay windows, wrought iron balconies and carved doors in every style possible. But a Blérot house is all façade.

Once you are past the door, the interior is quite plain, like any other Brussels terraced house. Blérot’s clients could not afford the huge expense of a genuine Art Nouveau house.

When these houses were newly built in 1900, the street must have seemed extraordinary. Now the façades are in need of some attention. But you can still enjoy the delicate details, like the ornate balcony on No. 9, the sgraffito birds on No. 19 and the floral ironwork on the door of No. 21. There’s also a beautiful but fake Art Nouveau café on the corner.

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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