Art and history lovers, visit the finest museums in Brussels

Brussels is an astonishing capital that overturns preconceived ideas, and all the better for it. French-speaking as well as Flemish, (although English is the most spoken language...) European and neighbouring, Belgium's largest city manages to appeal to all travellers. Young people come here at night to party like only Belgians know how. Older people go shopping and visit the antique markets. Shopping addicts have long been familiar with the big names in Belgian fashion, browsing the trendy and luxurious boutiques on Avenue Louise. Gourmets go there at weekends to indulge in pralines, sugar waffles and speculoos. If you're a curious visitor, you'll want to take the time to stay a while, strolling from the Atomium to the Ixelles ponds, and art and history lovers will be won over by the city's dozen or so museums. Here's a round-up of the most beautiful museums in Brussels!

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Brussels has an abundance of museums, and art and history lovers will be delighted to make these cultural visits to the capital. To take advantage of these tourist attractions at a reduced price, the city's museums are open free of charge every first Wednesday of the month from 1pm! The city of Brussels also offers a 'Brussels Card', which allows you to discover the city, its museums, bars and restaurants while saving money. Among other things, the card gives you 'free' entry, or at least no additional cost, to no fewer than 49 museums. The card is valid for 24, 48 or 72 hours and costs €32, €42 or €49. To obtain the card, click here.

Musée Margitte Radiokafka

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The Magritte Museum

Certainly one of the youngest and most emblematic museums in Brussels, the Musée Magritte is dedicated to the surrealist artist René Magritte. An emblematic figure of this artistic movement, Magritte left his mark on his time and on the history of Belgian art. The museum is located between the Marolles, the Royal Quarter and the Sablon. It houses the largest collection of works by Magritte in the world, with over 230 paintings, drawings and sculptures, as well as archives and personal objects belonging to the artist. The works on display at the museum illustrate the evolution of Magritte's art, from his beginnings as a surrealist painter to his later style. Its origins date back to the end of the 20th century, and the curator of the Musée des Beaux-Arts (next door) realised that one of the museum's strong points was the room dedicated to Magritte. Little by little, the collection grew, eventually taking over the other floors. In 2009, the Magritte Museum opened its doors under the impetus of the Magritte Foundation. It also offers temporary exhibitions devoted to other artists and artistic movements.

Practical information

📍 Address Musée Magritte : Place Royale 1, 1000 Brussels

Opening times: Tuesday to Friday: 10am to 5pm; Weekend: 11am to 6pm

👛 Admission:

  • 19-64 years: €10
  • Students: €5
  • Under 18s: free

Free with Brussels Card

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Museum of Natural Sciences

The Natural History Museum is the perfect museum to visit with children. It boasts a collection of thousands of fascinating objects, including dinosaur specimens, animal skeletons, fossils, minerals and insects. It is best known for its dinosaur exhibition, which is the largest gallery devoted to dinosaurs in Europe. The museum's collections focus on entomology, invertebrates, vertebrates, anthropology, palaeontology and geology. The museum regularly organises temporary exhibitions on subjects such as evolution, biodiversity and nature conservation. It also offers activities for children and families, as well as guided tours for groups.

T-Rex at the Natural History Museum

- © Alexandros Michailidis / Shutterstock

Practical information

📍 Address of the Museum of Natural Sciences: Rue Vautier 29, 1000 Brussels

Opening times: Tuesday to Friday : 9.30am to 5pm ; Weekend : 10am to 6pm

👛 Admission:

  • Adults: 13 euros

  • Students: 3 euros

  • Children under 4: free

  • Free with Brussels Card

Info and bookings on the natural sciences website

The Fine Arts Museums

Brussels has a number of fine art museums. They comprise four art centres. The collection includes over 20,000 paintings, sculptures and drawings, dating from the early 15th century to the present day. But the most important are the Museums of Ancient Art and Modern Art, which are located in the heart of the city and are concentrated in a single building, next to the Musée Magritte. The other two, the Musée Antoine Wiertz and the Musée Constantin Meunier, are much smaller and located elsewhere in the city. The larger ones house a major collection of Flemish art and the great masters, ranging from the Middle Ages to contemporary art. Highlights of the collection include works by Rubens, Van Dyck, Bruegel, Magritte and Ensor, among others.

Museum of Fine Arts

- © Radiokafka / Shutterstock

Practical information

📍 Address of the Musée des Beaux-Arts: Rue de la Régence 3, 1000 Brussels

Opening times: Tuesday to Friday: 10am to 5pm; Weekend: 11am to 6pm

👛 Admission Fees:

  • Adults: 10€

  • Students: 3€

  • Under-19s: free

  • Free with Brussels Card

Info and bookings on the fine arts website

Comic strip museum

Lucky Luke, Tintin and the Smurfs are just some of the comic strips that have lulled the childhoods of many Belgians. A must-see attraction in the city, the Comic Strip Museum celebrates the authors and heroes of your childhood. The museum is housed in a magnificent Art Nouveau building designed by the famous Belgian architect Victor Horta. You'll find no fewer than 14,000 original plates and drawings, and the museum's collection gives you an idea of the many dimensions of the comic strip. The museum also offers access to a comic strip library (€1.50 admission).

Comic Strip Museum

- © Bibiana Castagna / Shutterstock

Practical information

Musée de la bande dessinée Rue des sables, 20 1000 Brussels

Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm

👛 Admission fees:

  • Adults: 13 euros
  • Students: 10 euros
  • Free with Brussels Card

All the museums in Brussels you can visit for free with the Brussels Card on the visit Brussels website

by Val HANCOCK
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