Letters to Heaven
We invite you to deposit a "letter to heaven" for the future of Europe in the Citizens' Garden of the European Parliament.
Step into a serene, green oasis amid the busy European Quarter. The Citizens’ Garden features benches, lawns and sculptures in the former home of Belgian artist Antoine Wiertz.
Add the Citizens’ Garden to your trip and take a moment to relax in a serene, green oasis amid the busy European Quarter. Just 100 metres from the European Parliament’s official entrance, the garden is in the grounds of the former residence and studio of the 19th century artist Antoine Wiertz.
Trees, benches and lawns invite you to stroll or rest. The garden has some original features, such as an imitation-ruin column of Italy’s Paestum temple. Sculptures of historic European philosophers and artists emphasise the historic nature of the grounds. The garden also has a music pavilion and sometimes hosts events.
The garden opened to the public for the first time in September 2020 thanks to investment and renovation by the European Parliament.
The artist’s enormous studio is now the Wiertz Museum and is free to visit. It belongs to the Royal Fine Arts Museum and houses more than 200 of the artist’s works.
Discover the cultural programme organised in the Citizens' Garden at the bottom of this page.
|Autumn – Winter||September||October – March|
|8:00 – 19:50||8:00 – 17:50|
|Spring – Summer||April||May – August|
|8:00 – 18:50||8:00 – 20:50|
Antoine Wiertz first moved to the site in Ixelles in 1850 and developed the concept of the studio, the house and the garden himself. Large parts of the house and studio were constructed in 1850-1852, though the site was only finished some years later.
The workshop has always been open to the public and was designed to be eye-catching. The imitation-ruins of Italy’s Paestum temple were visible to passengers arriving at Luxembourg train station and corresponded with the romantic spirit of the time.
On his death, Wiertz gave his works, the studio, the house and the garden to the Belgium state, which opened the studio as a museum in 1866. The studio, house and garden were all classified as listed-buildings in 1997 for their historical and artistic values.
The garden remained closed to the public until September 2020 after it was renovated by the European Parliament.
Antoine Wiertz (1806-1865) was a Belgian romantic painter and sculptor. Famous for using gigantic canvasses, his paintings and artworks could be more than 11m long, infused with social or philosophical messages. Wiertz is one of the most important representatives of Belgian romanticism and monumental art.
In 1839 Wiertz called for Brussels to be recognised as the capital of Europe. Today the official address of the European Parliament bears his name: Rue Wiertz 60.
The Citizens’ Garden is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna with 17 different species of tree present, such as poplars, maple trees and chestnut trees. In total, there are 76 trees in the Citizens Garden, one of which has been there for more than 100 years. The European Parliament is committed to promoting biodiversity in its green areas, the trees in this garden store about 3 tons of CO2 per year and are beneficial to the urban landscape and to wider biodiversity. The garden contributes not only to the carbon cycle but also to the water cycle and to the creation of cooling islands.
The wooded area of the Citizens’ Garden is also frequented by several species of bats. The bat species of the Common pipistrelle, Nathusius pipistrelle and Kuhl’s pipistrelle have all been spotted in the garden.
Work to redevelop the house and garden began in 2016 and is a public-public partnership between the European Parliament and the Belgian state. A 50-year lease was signed for €1 on the condition that the European Parliament renovate both the garden and house, and open the garden to the public.
The house is currently undergoing reconstruction works and will open in a couple of years.
Rue Vautier / Vautierstraat 62B-1050 BrusselsBelgium
Brussels-Luxembourg serves the European Parliament
Lines 22, 27, 34, 38, 64, 80 and 95 all stop at the European Parliament. Lines 12 and 21 also connect to Brussels Airport. The Zweig entrance in Rue D'Ardenne allows for pick-up and drop-off by bus and for visitors to get their bearings before starting the visit.
The nearest stops are Maelbeek and Schuman on lines 1 and 5, and Trone on lines 2 and 6.