Brussels, 24 hours in the European Quarter

07 March 2022
Quartier Européen parc Léopold Parlement Européen

Behind the European Quarter’s impressive long avenues and magnificent postmodern facades hides an astonishing charm that owes much to the neighbourhood’s smaller, atypical places. Those who venture between Leopold Park, Place Jourdan and Cinquantenaire Park will encounter a 19th century artist's house-cum-studio; be seduced by the charms of an Art Nouveau library surrounded by greenery and visit a neighbourhood cinema which has been converted into a theatre!

Discover our 5-step itinerary and immerse yourself, for a day, in this authentic and diverse neighbourhood where languages and cultures coexist beautifully. Are you ready to burst the "European bubble" and shatter any preconceptions you might have had about this neighbourhood?

09:40 - The Wiertz Museum and the Citizens’ Garden

The Wiertz Museum is hidden in a discreet house at the bend in rue Vautier. Just a stone's throw from the contemporary glass spaceship that is the European Parliament, this timeless place has a warm charm, complete with crackling parquet floors. Throughout its various rooms - which have remained unchanged since the middle of the 19th century - a series of monumental canvases plunge into the contrasting universe of Romantic painter Antoine Wiertz (1806-1865). 200 dramatically composed works toy with excess, sumptuously underlined by the splendid light coming from the museum's glass roof.

At the end of the museum visit, the adjacent Citizens’ Garden offers up a veritable breath of fresh air with a view of the European Parliament. This green oasis is dotted with sculptures and a charming music pavilion. It's a genuine haven of peace and quiet, just metres away from the beating heart of Europe! When the weather permits it, the garden hosts free classical music concerts.

Rue Vautier, 62

Musée Wiertz Brussels museum

11:00 - The Museum of Natural Sciences

As you walk back up rue Vautier, the monumental silhouette of a life-size dinosaur comes into view. You're almost at the Museum of Natural Sciences! Visitors flock there to discover the museum's new permanent exhibition, "Living Planet". The exhibition uses modern and interactive exhibits to celebrate the planet's biodiversity, featuring 850 specimens of both terrestrial and marine animals and covering everything from giraffes to aphids. A brown bear stands alongside a hornbill and a llama has a disconcerting face-off with a cheetah! This exhibition is an exciting immersive journey into the heart of what makes our ecosystem so rich. 

Rue Vautier 29

Natural Science Museums Living Planet Indoor

14:30 - Solvay Library

At the top of Leopold Park, hidden behind a somewhat classical façade, Solvay Library houses a real treasure trove of Art Nouveau and eclectic architecture. Push open the door and marvel at the mahogany wood panelling, fine mosaics, marouflage canvases and stained-glass windows. This former sociology institute is a real treat for the eyes! You can visited it for a guided tour, a concert or an exhibition. Wish you could prolong the experience with dinner? You can, subject to reservation.

Rue Belliard 137A Belliardstraat

 

 

16:40 - Marcel Hastir’s studio

After popping to rue Belliard to admire its impressive view of Cinquantenaire Park (concrete, glass, aluminium and other post-modernist façades, revealing a history of contemporary architecture), head to Marcel Hastir's studio. This is a more atypical place than its facade would have you believe. Packed with canvases and easels, this former studio, which was also a centre of the resistance, seems to have escaped the onslaught of time. It is almost as if Marcel Hastir himself, the painter and building’s former owner, were welcoming you into his home! On Saturdays and Sundays, at the end of the afternoon, recitals and classical music concerts underline, in music, the singular atmosphere of this place steeped in history.

Rue du commerce, 51 

20:00 - Le Senghor

Not far from the lively Place Jourdan, at the bend of a charming little pedestrian street, Le Senghor cultural centre is a 1930s cinema that has become a place of cultural exchange. Diversity is the watchword here, with the venue inviting both local artists and those from further afield, often Africa. Here the world is presented and expressed in words, images and music. Le Senghor is renowned for jazz, friendly Sunday afternoon film clubs and spicy choreographic performances. Why not round off your evening under the stars at the nearby Place Jourdan? Here you'll be treated to all kinds of languages and accents.

Chaussée de Wavre, 336 

Senghor indoor theatre brussels