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Japanese Tower photograph.
Photograph © Michel Weber

Japanese Tower photograph.
Photograph © Michel Weber

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The Japanese Tower
(Tour Japonaise)

Type: Tower
Location: Parc Royale, Brussels, Belgium
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L ike the world-famous Eiffel Tower, the less-famous Tour Japonaise was a feature at the International Exposition in Paris. Though the world was taken by storm by the Eiffel Tower in 1889, by 1900 the Tour Japonaise seemed exotic, but still tame in comparison. Not everyone had become so jaded. The ruler of Belgium, King Leopold II, was so taken with the building that he had it packed up and moved 165 miles (266 kilometers) from Paris to the park surrounding Château Royal de Læken (Koninklijk Kasteel), home of the Belgian Royal Family. Leopold's affinity for eastern architecture is also demonstrated in the Chinese Pavilion that he also snatched up at the Paris show and placed across the road from the Tour Japonaise. The plan was to accumulte a number of exotic buildings from around the world along the same stretch of road in the Parc Royale. But only three were ever located here.

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