The legend behind the asymmetry of the City Hall on the Grand Place

Undoubtedly one of the most touristic attractions in Brussels, the Grand-Place, seems like a giant open-air museum. Turn around 360 degrees and the view only keeps getting better.




The main attraction is the 96 m high City Hall building. For those who haven’t had the chance to get a closer look, the City Hall was built in the Gothic style during the 15th century and it is covered with a collection of delicate facade statues.

It is estimated that around 750,000 people pass through the Grand Place every day. What’s struck me with awe is that not many people notice or question the City Hall’s asymmetry.


Photography: Aris Setya


If you look closely you would immediately notice that the high tower is not positioned in the middle or center of the building.

Legend has it that when the architect realized the mistake, he climbed to the top and  jumped to his death. The spot has ever since been marked with a star.


Flower Carpet 2018- Grand Place. Photography: Gaston Batistini


Legends aside. The real reason why the building is asymmetrical is probably due to “the fact that during the 15th century the building was designed over a longer period by a series of different architects, each of whom was forced to consider the very boggy foundations.”

And the star represents the point from which the distance to the capital is measured or the zero point in Brussels.