Brussels’ top 10 museums and attractions

16 February 2022
exposition à Bozar

Are you coming to Brussels and need some inspiration for your visits? Join us to discover the capital's unmissable museums and attractions, thanks to our list of the most popular, in terms of visitor numbers. These sites have been a guarantee of quality since their creation. And, as always in Brussels, there is something for everyone: indoors and outdoors; history, heritage, science, art and culture; traditional and contemporary museums; typical Brussels locations and places of power, etc. You are bound to be won over! So let's go, Brussels can’t wait to show you what it's all about!

 

1. Art, art and more art at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts!

The most visited group of museums in Brussels, this cultural marvel’s reputation is well-established. The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, or RMFAB, is made up of several locations covering countless periods and artistic movements and genres. Near place Royale, you can visit the Old Masters Museum, the Modern Museum, the Fin-de-Siècle Museum and the famous Magritte Museum. In Ixelles, discover the Wiertz and Meunier museums. They house works by great artists such as Memling, van der Weyden, Bosch, Bruegel, Rubens, David, Alechinsky, Delvaux, and many others, so don't miss them!

Royal Museums of Fine Arts

2. The emblematic Atomium

The undeniable symbol of Brussels and a national icon, you haven't really visited Brussels if you haven't seen the Atomium. This nine-sphered monument represents an elementary iron crystal magnified 165 billion times! But why did the designers choose an iron crystal? It was a nod to progress and research in the field of science, matter and nuclear energy - in its peaceful use of course. Built for the 1958 World Fair, the building was, like many other buildings, to be dismantled after the event! Inconceivable today...Between 2004 and 2006, the Atomium underwent a full restoration that returned it to its former glory. If you're in the area, it's worth waiting for nightfall: the Atomium is lit up with 2970 LED bulbs!

Atomium

3. See all of Europe in 2 hours at Mini-Europe

Looking for some playfulness and fresh air, but also fancy stretching your legs? Then Mini-Europe is for you! Also on the Heysel plateau, just a stone's throw from the Atomium, you can walk along comfortable paths and discover the most beautiful buildings and sites in Europe, in miniature. Marvel at the miniature Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, Vesuvius and the splendid Grand-Place in Brussels, which took countless hours of work to model! This site is particularly suitable for children, who can enjoy a variety of fun activities!

Mini-Europe

4. The dinosaurs of the Natural Sciences Museum

Are you curious by nature and love to learn? Then head to the museum attached to the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences! The many sections of its permanent exhibition –Dinosaur Gallery, Gallery of Evolution, Living Planet, Mineral Room, etc. – not to mention the variety of temporary and themed exhibitions, will satisfy your hunger for knowledge. The institution is housed in an imposing complex of buildings by Leopold Park, in the heart of the European Quarter. So, if you feel like it, you can also enjoy a breath of fresh air in this lovely and historic green space!

Dinosaur skeleton at the Museum of Natural Sciences

5. Understanding Europe and its parliament at the Parlamentarium

Understanding how the European Union works isn’t always easy... thankfully, at the Parlamentarium, You can travel back through the history of the continent, take a seat in a theatre for a 360-degree panoramic view of Europe and its Parliament, hear testimonies from European citizens, and much more! The Parlamentarium is open 7 days a week and admission is free. Visitors can explore the exhibitions freely and in all 24 of the EU’s official languages! There's no reason not to go!

activité interactive au Parlamentarium

6. The ninth art in all its glory at the Belgian Comic Strip Center

Did you know that Brussels is the capital of comic books? The ninth art is a defining theme of the Belgian capital and has been for almost a century, with countless comic book authors coming from Brussels. Comics are omnipresent and can be found in the streets and alleys of numerous Brussels districts. So what better way to get to know Brussels' comic book heritage than a through a visit to the Belgian Comic Strip Center, a museum entirely devoted to the subject, housed in a magnificent Art Nouveau building in the very centre of the city? Its regularly updated permanent exhibitions and extensive programme of temporary exhibitions invite you to discover the many facets of comics. Join Tintin and Co on an adventure!

Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée

7. The birth of Europe at the House of European History

A wonderful green setting in a particularly dense and urbanised area, the Leopold Park is home to some prestigious buildings - the Eggevoord Tower, Solvay Library and the former Georges Eastman Dental Institute, which now houses the House of European History. As a space for learning, reflection and debate, the museum presents the history of Europe in a way that highlights to visitors the diversity of perspectives and interpretations. Like the Parlamentarium, the House of European History is open 7 days a week and admission is free.

House of European History in Park Leopold

8. An exhibition or concert at Bozar

As vast as it is unsuspected, this palace of fine arts occupies a building designed by one of Belgium's architectural masters: Victor Horta, the undisputed leader of the Art Nouveau style. It's a multidisciplinary space dedicated to the arts in the broadest sense: exhibitions, dance, concerts, cinema, etc. The Centre for Fine Arts, known for some years now by its generic name Bozar, is renowned for its famous Henry Le Boeuf concert hall with remarkable acoustics, which hosts the final of the Queen Elisabeth Competition.

Henri Le Boeuf concert hall at Bozar

9. The history of the Belgian railways at Train World

Opened in 2015 in the old Schaerbeek train station, which remains partially active, this veritable temple to the train boasts a breathtaking and contemporary scenography by François Schuiten. Dedicated to the history of the Belgian railways, the museum is housed in a group of buildings that combine old heritage and new construction. It presents historical vehicles, objects, photos, text and audiovisual archives, etc. Did you know that the history of the railways in Belgium goes back a very long way, it’s almost as old as Belgium itself! It’s time you paid Train World a visit, there’s so much to learn!

trains at Train World

10. The Art and History Museum, for lovers of ancient civilisations and customs

An institution without which Cinquantenaire Park would be very different, the Art and History Museum is part of the larger Royal Museums of Art and History. The museum's collections are astonishingly diverse... At the Art & History Museum, you'll cross the continents from prehistory to the 20th century. Prehistoric flints, Egyptian mummies and other ancient artifacts, impressive medieval tapestries, Buddhas, a collection of Belgian Art Nouveau... come and marvel at this grandiose museum! The surrounding park also offers you the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, and even to visit two more museums — Autoworld and the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History - if you fancy it.

sculpture at the Art & History Museum

10 must-visit Art Nouveau houses and mansions in Brussels

At the end of the 19th century, Victor Horta broke with the dominant, traditional architectural styles in Brussels, giving birth to the iconic Art Nouveau genre. Along the streets of our capital, numerous houses and mansions bear witness to the emergence and blossoming of this unprecedented style.