STRAETEN, Charles van der
(b. 1771, Brussel, d. 1834, Ixelles)

Biography

Flemish architect. Nothing is known about his early life and education. Appointed architect to King William I, he was commissioned to design a fitting residence for the sovereign of the Kingdom of the Netherlands following an open competition in which the winner, Joseph Henri of Dinant, had died on 3 February 1820. The king had chosen the town house on the place des Palais that van der Straeten transformed into the Palais Royal, which he completed in 1826.

An exponent of Neoclassicism, then in vogue, he was also commissioned to design the Palais des Académies and a château for Crown Prince Frederick in Tervuren, which burned in 1879. The author of plans for the boulevard du Régent, he completed work on the Cathédrale des Saints-Michel-et-Gudule and designed the town-hall of Ixelles. He also laid out the commemorative battlefield at Waterloo.

Bitter at the accession of Tilman-François Suys to the post of architect to the Dutch king, van der Straeten hoped for a return to favour under the new monarchy of an independent Belgium. Disappointed when that failed to happen, he died disillusioned in 1834.