The perfect blend of rural and urban landscapes, Anderlecht is one of Belgium's most underrated tourist hot spots. Home to more than 120,000 people, affectionately known as Anderlechtaars, the city sits in the southwestern Brussels region, bordering Brussels City, Sint-Gillis, Forest, and Molenbeek-Saint-Jean.
Anderlecht's history can be traced back to the prehistoric times of the Stone and Bronze Ages; however, the city wasn't mentioned by name until 1046 A.C.E. Later, during the Middle Ages, the city rose to prominence as an agricultural centre. Additionally, the city was recognised throughout Europe for its dynamic culture and budding art scene, eventually drawing the likes of notable figures such as Charles, Duke of Aumale, and Dutch humanist and writer, Erasmus of Rotterdam.
Uniquely charming, Anderlecht is now known for having the fastest-growing population of any commune in the Belgian capital. And, the city is home to one of the most popular football clubs in the country, RSC Anderlecht. Continue reading below to find out everything you need to know about Anderlecht, Belgium, to make the most of your visit to this extraordinary city.
Luggage Storage near Anderlecht's Train Stations
As part of its extensive public transport system, Anderlecht offers its residents a variety of transportation options, including subway, tram, and railway.
Saint - Guidon Metro Station
One of Anderlecht's central stations, the Sint-Guido, or Saint-Guidon Metro Station, is on the western branch of line 5. The station, conveniently located in the city's historic centre, is named after the nearby Collegiate Church of Saint Peter and Saint Guido, The Erasmus House, and Lotto Park.
Saint-Guidon Metro Station opened its two platforms to the public for the first time over 30 years ago, in October of 1982. In the years since then, the station has become a bit of a mini transit centre for the surrounding area, offering connections to the overhead line 81 of the Brussels Tram, lines 46, 49, and N13 of the Brussels city bus network, and lines 116, 117, 118, 140, 571, 572, and 810 of De Lijn's bus services.
The station is also home to an artwork by Frans Minnaert titled Wij Leven or, in English, We Live. The piece consists of 42 tin alloy panels measuring 1 square meter (about 10.7 square feet) across. Each panel is unique, with slots, scratches, points, lines, grooves, stains, etc., that are accentuated differently, depending on the time of day.
Aumale Metro Station
Aumale Metro Station in Anderlecht, Belgium, is situated on the edge of the Bospark, beneath Rue d'Aumale (in Flemish, Aumalestraat). A part of the western branch of Line 5, the Brussels metro station has two platforms and two platform tracks.
Interestingly, Aumale Metro Station is home to the largest photo montage on the planet, the Metrorama 78. The montage, created by Belgian artist Jean-Paul Laenen, covers an area of 600 square metres (6458.35 square feet) and was created to be viewed from all angles so as to communicate the same feeling as being on the street above.
Currently, the station offers connections to De Lijn bus lines 136, 137, and 620.
Bizet Metro Station
One of the smaller stations in the country, Bizet Metro Station, is located in Anderlecht, beneath the Bizetplein city square and Bergensesteenweg, an approach road from the Anderlechtsepoort. Like Aumale Metro Station, Bizet Metro Station is on the western branch, Line 5 of the Brussels Metro system.
First opened in 1992, the Bizet Metro Station consists of two platforms and two platform tracks. Since the station is rarely busy, visitors can peacefully observe La Caracola, an art piece created above the tracks at the station by Flemish artist, playwright, and director, Tone Brulin. The artwork consists of a series of blue pipes and coloured Plexiglas that flank the platforms with two stylised figures.
Luggage Storage at Airports near Anderlecht
Three international airports provide passenger services within 60 kilometres (just over 37 miles) of Anderlecht's city centre, Brussels Airport, Brussels-South Charleroi Airport, and Antwerp International Airport.
A public and military use airport located 25 kilometres (around 15.5 miles) from Anderlecht in Zaventem, Brussels Airport offers international and domestic flights in the region. Brussels Airport is Belgium's busiest passenger airport, with more than 26 million passengers passing through the facility in a typical year.
The 24th busiest airport in Europe, the airport is home to more than 250 companies with, collectively, more than 20,000 employees. In addition to its official name, Brussels Airport is colloquially known as Luchtgaven Zaventem, Bruxelles-National, and Brussels-National.
Brussels Airport uses a one-terminal concept consisting of four levels and two piers. On the airport's -1 level, passengers can access the Brussels Airport - Zaventem Railway Station, which connects directly to Brussels and beyond.
Brussels South Charleroi Airport
Also known as Gosselies Airport, Brussels South Charleroi Airport in Gosselies sits about 60 kilometres (about 37 miles) south of Anderlecht's city centre. The airport is the second busiest passenger airport in Belgium, transporting more than 7 million passengers on average each year.
Besides being a passenger airport, Brussels South Charleroi Airport is also a general aviation airfield, with three flying schools on its premises. Furthermore, the airport regularly offers scheduled charter and passenger flights through nine commercial airlines, including Ryanair, TUI fly Belgium and Air Belgium.
If you're flying into Brussels South Charleroi Airport, be sure to stop in at one of the airport's more than 20 coffee spots, pubs, restaurants, and duty-free shops before heading to Anderlecht. To get to Anderlecht from the airport, travellers can take advantage of the variety of public transport connections available from and around Brussels South Charleroi, like the Brussels - South Railway Station.
Antwerp International Airport
A minor international airport in Belgium, the Antwerp International Airport is 58 kilometres (a little over 36 miles) north of Anderlecht. The airport is often used for business and general aviation and offers regularly scheduled passenger flights and charter flights.
Originally opened to the public nearly a century ago in 1923, Antwerp International Airport has a long history. So long, in fact, that the airport has its own museum, the Museum Stampe-Vertongen, which occupies one of the airport's original facilities initially constructed in 1930. Visitors to the Museum Stampe-Vertongen can go on a tour of the building, as well as its 20 aeroplanes and aeroplane reproductions, some of which date back to World War I.
Now, the Antwerp International Airport serves as a gateway to more than ten local and international destinations throughout the year, in addition to seasonal flights. The facility itself consists of a single terminal building with a VIP Lounge and bistro/pub.
What to do in Anderlecht
- Admire the gorgeous, late medieval architecture of the neo-gothic Collegiate Church of St. Peter and St. Guido. The church is also home to one of Belgium's oldest Romanesque crypt's, the 11th century grave of Saint Guy of Anderlecht.
- Stroll through the Parc des Étangs, a beautifully landscaped park with several ponds. There's an open-air alternative art gallery located in the back of the park, featuring massive, incredible graffiti art pieces and murals.
- Cheer on the Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht, also known as RSC Anderlecht, on home turf at Lotto Park Football Stadium.
- Snap a selfie along the picturesque cobblestone streets, lined with mansions, art, and brightly painted homes and businesses, around Place de la Vaillance, the historical centre of Anderlecht.
- Explore the Benguinage and The Erasmus House, two of Belgium's oldest municipal museums from the 1500s and 1600s, located within walking distance of each other. Of particular note at The Erasmus House is the house's study, with one of Europe's most comprehensive collections of early printed books and 16th-century volumes.
- Catch a show at the Theatre le Fou Rire, where local and international entertainers regularly gather to put on stand-up, musical, and theatrical performances.
Anderlecht is classified as having a sub-oceanic climate due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the heavy influence it has on the city's weather. Generally, the city experiences all four seasons, with cool, comfortable summers and cold, but not freezing, winters.
The average temperature in Anderlecht ranges from winter lows of around 1 degree Celcius (33.8 degrees Fahrenheit) to summer highs of around 23 degrees Celcius (74 degrees Fahrenheit). Throughout all four seasons, rainfall is relatively common, most often taking the form of short drizzles and showers, with yearly accumulation totals averaging around 820 millimetres (32 inches).
Locals of Anderlecht suggest that the best time of year to visit the city is between late June and early September if you prefer warmer temperatures. However, if you don't mind being out in the cold, the city is a wonder during the holidays, as the homes and buildings are decorated by residents and business owners with lights that truly make snowfall in Anderlecht feel magical.
Fun Facts About Anderlecht
- Belgian King Phillippe and Queen Mathilde's oldest child, and heiress apparent to the Belgian throne, Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant, was born in Anderlecht.
- Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant's siblings, Gabriel and Emmanuel, the two Belgian Princes, and their sister, Princess Eléonore, were also born in Anderlecht at the Université libre de Bruxelles's Erasmus Hospital.
- Fans of the RSC Anderlecht Pro Soccer Team can enjoy fries dipped in mayonnaise, one of the most popular game-day snacks, in true team style as Anderlecht is one of few places in the world that sells purple mayo.
- Near the Westland Shopping Center, on the corner of Boulevard Sylvain Dupuis and Sylvain Dupuislaan, there's a statue of Belgian actor, filmmaker, and fight choreographer, Jean-Claude Van Damme.