It is no surprise that the Park Josaphat has been chosen for the second time in a row the favorite park of Brusselians. It covers a rather big surface (30 ha), its parts are very varied (ponds, lawns and sports area) and it is located in the most populated neighborhood in Brussels. It is the meeting point of a very multicultural neighborhood, livened up by the “apéros du Parc Josaphat” on weekends.
It also has a fascinating story. At the end of the nineteenth century and thanks to the railway, Schaerbeek, a little village full of donkeys near Brussels, became an extension of the capital. It needed, at the authorities’ reasonable discretion, a corresponding green area. They chose the valley called Josaphat (because of its resemblance, it is said, with the eponymous valley in Israel). Leopold II wanted to avoid the inflation of prices for the land and started to buy incognito plot after plot. He even bought the trees that were already on site. The determination of the king Leopold II to transform Brussels into a city comparable to the big capitals of Europe endowed Schaerbeek with its park in the Josaphat valley.
Image credits © Ruskin in Brussels