The Grand Place is the capital’s most emblematic site and has been its beating heart since the Middle Ages. Its splendid town hall, built in several phases in the 15th century, is a clear reflection of the power of the local authority in the face of the superior power, that of the duke, who sits at Coudenberg.
As ruler of the Netherlands, Charles V was the representative of the supreme authority in our regions. In this position, he frequented the Grand Place, such as during the Ommegang in 1549, which was mentioned earlier. When the town hall was decorated with a series of sculptures in the 19th century, it was decided to dedicate the façade overlooking the Grand Place to the sovereigns who had reigned in Brussels; therefore, Charles V is amongst them.
The façade of the “Maison des Ducs de Brabant", the building at the top of the square which brings together seven private houses under one façade, also features a bust of Charles V, recognisable by the inscription "Carolus V, Emperor of Austria"
The Maison du Roi, which faces the town hall, is also named after the emperor. In fact, if we limit ourselves to the former use of the place, it should be called "Bread Hall" - Broodhuis is still its current name in Dutch. But in the 16th century, Charles V, who had become king (of Spain), used this hall as Duke of Brabant... it then became the Maison du Roi! His statue welcomes you in the central arcade on the ground floor.