Brussels is the Capital of Belgium and is known as the home to European Union Headquarters and is regarded as the De Facto Capital of Europe. Brussels is home to the European Parliament, Council of the European Union and European Commission. You can also visit European Parliament as it is also part of the long list of Brussels Museums.
Brussels is also a major producer of chocolates, beer and waffles. The city is full of shops, cafes, bars and beer tasting venues with thousands of options available for you. There are numerous restaurants in the city, so many that you will find restaurants almost everywhere. It means you can never be short of food, chocolates and beer in Brussels.
The city is a walk in the art bazaar itself. Wherever you go, by car or walk around, you are going to find numerous statues, art pieces, historical buildings and museums. The small but beautiful city of Brussels is home to a grand list of amazing museums. Brussels Museums represent all aspects of lifestyle, art, science and food. There are even museums of chocolates and beers and why not, they do add a lot of fun to the museums’ prospectus.
31 Amazing Museums in Brussels
Here is a list of 31 famous and worth visiting museums in Brussels. Each one of them is unique by nature, style, art and characteristics.
We have classified these 31 museums into following 7 Categories. Please click on the relevant category to scroll down to the topic.
Brussels Museums | Royal Museum of Fine Arts
Magritte Museum has the world’s largest collection of works and archives of Rene Magritte, a very well-known surrealist artist. There are around 230 works and archives of drawings, gouaches, sculptures and painted objects. The museum also showcases many advertising posters, musical scores, photographs and films.
Every year around 300,000 visitors come to this museum from all around the world. The Musée Magritte has received 8 nominations and prizes. The museum is open to everyone and guided tours are available based on your requirements as a family, group or a school tour.
This museum holds a great variety from Beaux arts to Symbolism and Pointillism. The artworks comprise of a variety of artistic disciplines between 1868 to 1914. The works also represent many other creative fields like literature, opera, music, architecture, photography and poetry.
There is a huge collection of the work from many famous artists like Constantin Meunier, James Ensor, Henri Evenepoel, Fernand Khnopff, Léon Spilliaert and Georges Minne, Maurice Maeterlinck, Emile Verhaeren, Victor Horta, Octave Maus, Henry Van de Velde, Maurice Kufferath, Guillaume Lekeu and others. At one second you are looking at the work of an artist you have never heard of only to turn around and find a masterpiece by one of the most well-known artists of the world.
Old masters Museum
The Old Masters Museum has a remarkable collection of rich and creative past that covers an era from 15th to 18th centuries. Most of the paintings are from the former Southern Netherlands. This collection originated during the famous French Revolution when many works of arts were seized. This Old Masters museum was founded in 1801 by Napoleon Bonaparte and became a major institution in 1830 with the Belgian independence.
It is mainly famous because of its world’s second largest collection of Pieter Bruegel the Elder.
This museum is dedicated to Antonie Wiertz (1806-1865), who was a controversial artistic figure of the Belgian Romantic Movement. He was a painter, sculptor and a writer. Wiertz is famous for his giant canvasses, horror scenes and other dramatic subjects. The museum also houses his most famous painting of Two Girls (La belle Rosine). The construction of this museum was allowed in 1850 after an agreement between Wiertz and Belgian Government. After the death of the artist, all his collection was donated to the state.
This museum is a house-cum-studio of Constantin Meunier (1831-1905) who was a famous artist, painter, draughtsman and a sculptor. The collection displays artworks of the artist from 1875 to 1905 when he had more focus on social and industrial aspects of Belgium. His fabulous sculptures made him one of the greatest artists of his genre.
Belgian government acquired the house of Constantine Meunier in 1936 which had a collection of more than 700 artwork. The house attached to the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium was then opened to the public in 1939.
This museum covers the collection of modern and contemporary artworks from the late 18th century to the present day. Museum of modern and contemporary art became operational from 1914 and is being constantly updated by new selections of amazing works.
Brussels Museums | History of Brussels, Belgium and Europe.
Brussels City Museum
The Brussels City Museum is situated at the Grand Place which is the most famous area of Brussels. The building of museum is a World Heritage Site since 2000 and also recognized as a National Heritage Site since 1936. This museum is worth visiting because the building itself is a masterpiece of art.
As the name suggests, this museum is dedicated to the history of Brussels City. The symbol of the city, the famous statue of Manneken Pis is preserved at this place on the last floor. The statue has been dressed in new costume after every four months since the 18th century. There is a wardrobe that displays almost 1000 costumes that withstood the test of time.
Along with the statue there are around more than 7000 items that include, paintings, pictures, city plans, sculptures, earthenware and altarpieces. You can learn the history and interesting stories about the city.
One of the interesting facts to learn in the museum is that the city of Brussels was rebuilt by women after a war that hit Brussels and took life of many men. It seems that is one of the reasons that the city is so beautiful and richly detailed with love and affection.
European Parliament- Parlamentarium
Brussels is considered the De Facto capital of the Eruope and is also home to the European Parliament. You can visit the Parliamentarium to experience the European politics which is the visitor’s center of the Eruopean Parliament. The place was opened in 2011 by Jerzy Buzek, the president of the European Parliament.
The entree is free in the Parliamentarium including free audio guides that offers 24 official EU languages. The audio guide gives you very interesting information about each exhibit as you pass by. There are hundreds of multimedia components that explain details about the members of parliament, history and European Union institutions. If you visit the place, do not forget to watch the 360 degree film.
House of European History
The list of Brussels Museums will be incomplete without a museum about European History specially if the city represents the European Union. House of European history as its name describes focuses on the history an evolution of Europe. This museum was opened in 2017 by the European Parliament to promote the understanding of European history and European Integration. The museum serves as a cultural institution and an exhibition of the Europe’s history since 1789.
The museum holds permanent and temporary exhibitions that showcase objects, documents, a wide range of online content, cultural events and educational programs. Europe has many countries, but this museum describes Europe as a whole or like a nation.
While the Brussels City Museum portrays the history of Brussels, Belvue Museum displays the history of the whole country i.e. Belgium. The museum provides very interesting information about famous Belgians, chips, chocolates, beer, costumes and many other Belgian creations.
The 7 themes which are democracy, prosperity, solidarity, pluralism, migration, language and Europe are used to explore through the Belgium’s history, art and culture. You can feel like walking from present into the past while visiting this museum.
Museum of Ixelles
The list of Brussels Museums has another magnificent museum of art which is located in Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium. The museum was founded in 1892 and has a collection of works donated by painter and collector Edmond De Pratere. The museum expanded quickly by the help of generous donations consisting of arts, paintings and symbolist works. The museum presents a panorama of Belgian art from 19th and 20th centuries.
Most of the collections of the museum are rich in Belgian art. This helps to learn and understand specifically the artists and masterpieces that reflect the Belgian culture and talent.
The palace of Coudenberg was built on a small hill which overlooked the city of Brussels around 12th century. For almost 700 years the palace served as the seat of governments of the counts, dukes, archdukes, kings, emperors and governors. Initially a castle which was turned into a resident palace that became one of the most beautiful palaces in Europe. In 1731 this beautiful palace was destroyed by fire.
After several years or restoration works and reconstruction the archeological remains and foundations are open for a public display. You will get a lot of details and facts about the origins of this site and materials which were used in the construction.
Another beautiful venue in the list of Brussels Museums is this splendid Halle Gate Museum. Along with a beautiful green garden, the Halle Gate is the only preserved medieval fortified city gate and the last remains of the second walls of Brussels. Now a museum, this is an ideal place to learn about the history of medieval times.
There are displays and armors that once belonged to some powerful leaders of the European history. Audio guide is provided so that you an select your language and listen to the awesome details about this place. You can enjoy panoramic beautiful views of the city from the top of the building.
Brussels Museums | Chocolate and Brewery
Chocolate Museum Brussels
Brussels is home to the world class chocolate confectionary as the city is a major producer of chocolate. There are museums dedicated to the beautiful art of delicious chocolate making.
Choco Story Brussels
The choco story Brussels museum established in 1998 and is privately owned. The museum takes you on a joy ride through the history of chocolate making when the first Mayas and then the Aztecs grew cocoa trees. You can learn how the cocoa bean got so famous in Europe and then turned into chocolate. A chocolate chef prepares the pralines in front of the visitors.
If you love chocolate, then this is one of the best places to visit and taste the different types of chocolates. If you take the full tour, it will take your 2 hours to scan everything in the museum. The audio guide helps a lot as well. This is an awesome place for kids.
Belgian Chocolate Village
Belgian Chocolate village is near Basilica, covering 900m2, is one of the largest museums dedicated to chocolate themed history, culture and workshops. This museum is designed to entertain chocolate lovers with activities, education and great interactive environment that is guaranteed to bring back some memories. The museum covers times, continents and techniques to tell you the story of this heritage center in the preserved Victoria chocolate and biscuit factory.
Just like Choco Story Brussels, it also highlights the chocolate making history, uses, its economy and variations. You can witness the work of chocolate artists who also let you taste their fine delicious arts. There are some interesting games for kids and a special environment for real Cocoa plants.
Belgian Brewers Museum
Belgium beer is famous worldwide and what can be more fun that going to a beer museum in Brussels. The art of beer making and tasting it can be experienced during the visit to this museum. The rich tradition of Belgian beer comes to life as you enter in the museum. You will be shown how the beer is made by using different tools, brewing methods. You can also see old fermentation tubs and materials that were used in 18th century. After the tour you can have a taste of free beer if you like.
Brussels Museums | Art, Music and Fashion
Art and history Museum
One of the largest of Brussels Museums, The Art and History Museum has a beautiful collection of classic antiques from around the world. Visitors can get amused by seeing some national archaeological artifacts from prehistory to the age of Merovingians. Egyptian Sarcophagi, Greek vases and model of Rome is very eye catching to the visitors.
The museum takes you to a ride of human activities from prehistory until now. There are non-European art treasures from China, South East Asia, Middle East, Central Asia, America and Oceana. The colossal statue of Easter Island and collection of pre-Colombian art are also very famous attractions of the museum. European decorative art collection that ranges from Romanesque to Art Deco are displayed in a separate section which represents Europe.
Musical Instruments Museum
Musical Instruments Museum or MIM as it is called, has a collection of more than 8000 musical instruments that range from pre-historic times to the present day. The museum floors are classified by traditional instruments, western classic musical instruments, mechanical instruments and keyboards.
During your visit, you can get an audio guide that plays the sound of the instrument in your ear when you go near to a specific displayed unit. Hearing to the sounds of some of the unfamiliar instruments is not only informative but also mesmerizing. The collection at the museum started in 1877 and kept expanding to date.
There are regular classes and workshops held at the museum for the music lovers who can learn to play or to make a certain music instrument. There is also a concert hall that can be privately booked, library with rich collection of information and a shop to buy musical souvenirs.
Fashion and Lace Museum
Focused majorly on Lace which is a traditional craft in Belgium, the museum is dedicated to textile and fashion founded in 1977. There are permanent exhibitions about the process of lace making, displays of antique lace and temporary exhibitions about wedding dresses, Barbie Fashion, raincoats, historical and contemporary fashion. Fashion displays are beautifully displayed on the mannequins on different levels.
Brussels Museums | Science, Plastic and Toys
Natural Science Museum
A museum dedicated to the natural history; The Museum of Natural Sciences offer much more than just history. 30 fossilized Bernissart Iguanodons skeletons which were found in 1878 in a coal mine are displayed at the largest dinosaur gallery in Europe. You can also learn about the evolution of human body. There are many other interesting things at display such a urban species and Ishango bone.
There is also a research department in the museum and the museum is a part of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. This is a great place to visit and bring kids for an informational tour.
Adam Museum Brussels
Adam (Art and Design Atomium Museum) is a place where you can find many plastic designs that you may have seen some long time ago or may not have seen at all. The place is dedicated to the designs from 20th to 21st centuries.
The museum has a permanent collection of unique plastic designs including some world’s famous pieces. The museum also holds some temporary exhibitions from time to time to entertain the visitors. The museum also offers programs and activities for children, teenagers and school groups.
One of the most interesting places in the Brussels Museum list is the Toy Museum. You can understand from the name that the place is about toys and games. There are more than 25,000 historic toys and games displayed at the museum on three floors of this grand family mansion. The museum was opened in 1990 by a family of toy enthusiasts and since then a lot of toys have been added to the museum. Some of the toys are gifted by the public. Most of the toys are dated back to 1980s, 1950s up to 1830.
This is such a great place to visit alone or with kids. The kids enjoy and learn about the collection of so many historical toys while the elder can go back in time and remember some of their own loved toys when they were kids.
Brussels Museums | Automotive, Trains and Trams
Formed in 1880, Autoworld Brussels is Belgium’s National Automobile Museum linked with automotive industry in a hall of an history building. There are more than 300 vehicles collections consisting of cars, motorcycles and trucks. These are placed on a permanent display for the visitors. Visitors can learn about the motorcar history from 1896 to the present.
The museum is a very attractive place for car lovers who can admire the collection of cars closely. The well managed sections allow you to explore the collection by year or types. The staff is friendly and the atmosphere is great. The collection deserves a visit because its not only very informative but interactive, child friendly and very well organized.
You can learn about Belgian Car Industry and the cars owned by the Belgian Royal Family. There are many themed exhibitions held at this venue regularly through out the year.
Belgium has the oldest railway network in the European continent. Brussels inaugurated the TrainWorld as the official museum of national railway company of Belgium in 2015. The preserved building of Schaarbeek railway station is used for the museum.
Train World is a highly interactive modern museum that has displays a lots of trains ranging from the oldest preserved steam locomotives to type 12 modernized steam locomotives who beat all speed records in 1939. The museum is such a great place that anyone will enjoy, even he or she doesn’t have any prior knowledge or interest in the trains. The atmosphere is very engaging for the visitors who can also find all the relevant technical details about these trains on display.
Tram Museum Brussels
This museum displays a large variety of trams and buses used in the history as public transports in Brussels. You can step inside some of the old trams and buses and read the descriptions which are in English as well. This museum is an ideal place to rent for your personalized events.
Brussels Museums | Army and International Museums
Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military
One of its kind in the list of Brussels Museums, the place displays magnificent collection of weapons, uniforms, armored vehicles and airplanes that describe the history of military evolution. The museum occupies two halls of the historic complex in Cinquantenaire Park in Brussels.
The museum has many heavy machineries, swords, guns from ranging from 12th century to F-16 fighter jets. There are more than 130 airplanes in the Air and Space hall. There is also an Antarctica room in the museum. The top of the museum has beautiful terrace from where you can have panoramic views of the city of Brussels.
An African museum in Europe does sound interesting. Not only interesting but this museum is one of the most beautiful and impressive African museums in the world. African Museum focuses on the Congo, which was a former Belgian Colony. Through this museum the interesting facts and information about Central African culture, rituals and history is portrayed to the visitors.
You can listen to the oldest and newest language and music of African traditions. You can learn about the cultural enriched creative cities and the diverse nature of African continent. A proper detailed visit to this museum can take more than 3 hours.
Brussels Museums | Houses Turned into Brussels Museums
Museum Van Buuren
This museum is a private house that was declared as a World Heritage Site in 2001. The house was built between 1924 to 1928 by a banker and art collector David Van Buuren and his wife Alice. Both husband and wife decorated their house beautifully with their art collection. The house is surrounded by beautifully designed gardens by Jules Buyssens in 1925 and then redesigned by Rene Pechere in 1968 and 1970.
This museum has a wide range of sculptures, paintings, glass frames, tapestries and rare furniture by international artists. Both Alice and David worked really hard on the house to glorify it to the smallest details possible.
Horta Museum is created in the private house a studio of Victor Horta (1861-1947) who lived in this house from 1901 to 1919. He was a famous architect and that is why the museum offers the beauty of architecture, decoration and Art Nouveau. The interior decoration has been well preserved. There is a library that has more than 5000 books. Temporary exhibitions are also held at the museum regularly.
The entrance fee is around 10 Euros which is not that bad for this amazing place in the superb list of Brussels Museums. There are a lot of stairs in the house so keep that in mind before booking a visit.
Maison Autrique or The Autrique House was the first town house built by Victor Horta for a Belgian engineer Eugène Autrique. It was built in 1893 in the Art Nouveau style. This house is important because it marks the big leap towards the development of great Belgian architecture. The house was bought by the municipality of Schaerbeek and after renovations, opened for the general public as one of the many Brussels Museums.