Named after John Cogels (1814-1885) and his wife baroness Josephine Osy (1821-1882), the Cogels-Osylei is famous fore its opulent townhouses.
The street was inaugurated in 1887, but was only really opened in 1894.
Its heydays of architecture were at the beginning of the 20th Century, with Art Nouveau designs by Joseph Bascourt and Jules Hofman. But there are also Gothic Revival, Neo-Renaissance mansions, Greek Revival homes, Neoclassical buildings, and the ‘cottage style’ that coincided with British Tudorbethan architecture.
The houses were often named and decorated with accompanying themes. The Sunflower, The Rose, The Tulip, etc.
Houses also referenced local history or the names of the streets upon which they stand. The Lion of Flanders prominently adorns Cogels-Osylei 2–4, while across the street an entire complex is devoted to Charlemagne.
Almost all the houses date from the heydays. Only three house are new, according to Heritage Flanders.
The central roundabout and its four similar white apartment buildings featured in the 1993 ‘The Chocolate Box‘ episode of the Hercule Poirot series with David Suchet. In that episode, Antwerp-Central Railway Station is used as Brussels station.