The cross-shaped Berlaymont building, headquarters of the European Commission with a typical 60s look, was built in 1967. The first things to catch the eye are the four asymmetrical main wings and the enormous public esplanade that passes under them thanks to an ingenious support structure. This impressive feat of engineering allows for only the centre of the structure to be in contact with the ground, giving the illusion that all four of the wings appear to be floating above the ground. Is the Berlaymont beautiful or an eyesore? Opinion is split, but there is no denying how impressive it is.
The adjacent Schuman roundabout not only provides a wonderful view of this key symbol of European decision-making in Brussels, but also on the brand-new Europa building, headquarters of the European Council and the Council of the European Union.
The Berlaymont underwent comprehensive renovations that began in 1995 and were completed in 2004.
The building owes its name to the Dames du Berlaymont (Sisters of the Berlaymont) convent. The Dames du Berlaymont order was created in 1625 by Countess Marguerite de Lalaing, wife of Count Florent de Berlaymont. The Belgian state bought the land in 1962, when the order moved to Argenteuil.
The Berlaymont building
Location: Wetstraat-Rue de la Loi, 200, 1049 Union Européenne - Commission