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thurn & taxis


name: thurn & taxis
type: edgeland
address: havenlaan brussels belgium
gps location: 50.8659, 4.3511
dimensions: 50.00x400.00 meter
start date: 2011-06-17
end date: 2011-08-02

General description

The site of Thurn&Taxis is one of the biggest edgelands in the center of Brussels. Close to the canal, it's situated in an industrial area that is in full development.

The contemporary premises are build beginning of 1900 by the Belgium government under Leopold II. Centuries before, the domain belonged to the noble family Thurn&Taxis - inventors of the postal system and busy with courier services since the 13th century. They used the site in Brussels to pasture their horses in service of the post deliveries.

In the 19th century, the city of Brussels acquires the domain (named Thurn&Taxis) and constructs the first building in order to develop the Port of Brussels.
Under Leopold II the premises served as storage for the good coming from the new colonies (Congo), in WorldWars I and II the site was in hands of the Germans and served as headquarters and deportation basis. Later, the domain was acquired by the Belgian Railways and turned into storage and courier services again.

A lot of discussion between different concerned actors and organisations took place the last years, a lot of real estate money is involved. A huge development project will be started up the coming months - offices, social housing, apartments, a tramway line to connect the North Station with Laken.

Ecological description

The wasteland of Thurn & Taxis is one of the most challenging edgelands of Brussels. Loads of wild herbs, medicinal plants, fauna and flora specific to the swampy site and most of all: quiet, calm, nature.

Sociological description

The site is mostly used for cultural activities, the most known example is the Couleur Café Festival : http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Festival_Couleur_Caf%C3%A9
Reportage on the old administrative building on the Thurn&Taxis site:
There is also a very nice community garden on the talud of the railway. This garden was started by the agronomes of le Début des Haricots, and is now in the hands and mercy of the inhabitants of Laeken, around the garden. The head-chief-gardener in charge is Abdel Mohammadi.