Best Museums in Brussels for Art and History Lovers
The capital of Belgium will surely delight those fascinated with history and various art styles. Here’s what not to miss on your next visit.
Brussels may be popular as a cultural hub, but not many people know that it’s home to so many museums. In fact, the number is nearing 100 as peculiar smaller museums keep emerging and for a good reason – Belgium’s capital city is filled with treasures that can satisfy the appetite of every avid museum-goer.
If you love history, art, and seeing niche collections that are hard to find elsewhere, Brussels is the city for you. Take a look at the following list of the best museums in Brussels and make sure you visit them on your next trip.
1. Brussels City Museum
What better place to start your museum tour than at the place that showcases the fascinating history of the very city?
The Brussels City Museum building is an architectural wonder in its own right. It’s made in the Neo-Gothic style and has been a national heritage site ever since 1936. This museum also has a name to match – Maison du Roi, which is French for The King’s Household.
There are over 7,000 exhibits in the museum, including paintings, maps, sculptures, and porcelain figurines. The insight into the city’s history that you’ll get from the museum offers an ideal beginning of your journey.
2. Museum of Original Figurines
Entirely devoted to comic book characters and their three-dimensional representations, the Museum of Original Figurines is a wonderland for comic book fans. It’s where you can find exhibits covering classical and modern American comics, Japanese manga, and local Belgian and Flemish editions.
The museum also showcases the various stages every comic book passes through before it’s finalized. If you have at least a passing interest in this subject, you’ll get a lot from your visit. And if you’re a real comic book lover, you could proceed to the Comics Art Museum for even more great experiences.
3. Brussels Gueuze Museum
Located in the Cantillon Brewery, the Brussels Gueuze Museum is all about the history of beer. It’s where you can see various pieces of brewing equipment that are a century old or older. The museum gets its name from a particular variety of beer made without yeast.
The recipe and method of making Gueuze beer stem from the Middle Ages and the visit to this museum will let you learn how to brew the rare sort. The reason you’ll have that chance is that you’ll be visiting the last brewery that still produces Gueuze beer.
4. Museum of Natural Sciences
The amazing Museum of Natural Sciences is largely known under a different name. It’s often called the Brussels Dinosaur Museum, named as such because it’s the most expansive gallery showcasing the ancient reptiles with no match in Europe.
The dinosaurs are presented incredibly well and are, of course, fascinating. While the stars of the show are the Iguanodons, there are other equally captivating exhibits.
The Museum of Natural Sciences features other galleries as well, including those devoted to humankind and evolution. Additionally, as is the practice of many respected museums, there are yearly exhibitions that change periodically.
5. Museum of Fantastic Art
Museum of Fantastic Art is among the gems that will provide you with an experience rarely seen in other places. But the best way to describe the artwork you can find here is – strange.
It’s because the exhibits in this museum focus on the fantastical and surrealistic art done in any number of techniques. Among the otherworldly wonders that the Museum of Fantastic Art offers is the Elephant Man and works such as ‘The killer flies’ and ‘Mato Grosso mummy,’ which should give you some idea of the art direction in question.
6. Belgian Comic Strip Center
We teased the expansive collection of comic and cartoon art when talking about the Museum of Original Figurines. Now, entering the glorious Art Nouveau estate that houses the Comic Strip Center where you can explore the legends of the art form.
You’ll find here some memorable characters such as Lucky Luke, Tin Tin, the Smurfs, and more, nestled alongside some favorites of Belgian origin.
And if you want to explore more and perhaps take home some of the art, there’s an excellent book store to browse. Finally, you can stop by the restaurant located inside the center to take a break and have lunch.
7. The Clockarium
The Clockarium is precisely what you would expect from the name, but with a particular twist. This is a clock museum but the exhibits fall into a very narrow niche – most of the clocks are ceramic and made in the Art Deco style of the 1920s and 30s.
The museum collection contains over a thousand clocks that vary in shape and decoration style. It might sound extravagant, but the exhibits are well worth seeing. And since you can pause and have a nice cup of tea in the Clockarium, visiting this unique place is a great idea.
8. Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History
The Belgian Army might not be very famous on its own, but the Royal Museum provides an interesting insight into the history of European armed conflicts.
The museum houses over 100,000 various objects that tell the tale of war in Europe along with a detailed history of Belgian armed forces. The aviation section is especially fascinating, as it showcases different types of military aircraft.
9. Musical Instruments Museum
The Musical Instruments Museum has an impressive collection of over 1,100 instruments, including modern and historical examples. The exhibits are divided into four galleries and you can take an audio tour, which is especially exciting.
It’s also interactive, as the music played on a particular instrument is transferred via WiFi straight to your headphones, allowing you to hear the instruments in action. The museum also features additional amenities, such as a workshop space, concert hall, library, shop, and a restaurant on the roof.
All things considered, this is one of the most enjoyable experiences for music lovers.
10. Magritte Museum
Rene Magritte was a world-famous artist who produced some of the greatest examples of the surrealist school of Verism. Although some of his works are housed in galleries around the world, the museum named after him has been quite respectable ever since it opened in 2009.
The artwork exhibited in the Magritte Museum showcases the evolution of the artist’s personal style. You’ll also find the story of his artistic development further detailed through letters and videos.
A Place of Incredible Culture and History
Brussels is very rich in historical heritage and the abundance of museums shows that cultural treasure to everybody interested.
From the classical arts to the modern and abstract, there’s much to see and the only limiting factor might be the lack of time. That’s why if you love visiting museums and learning about history and culture, Brussels will be a city you’ll return to multiple times.