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Culture

Top Rated Attractions in Brussels

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Ancienne Belgique

This old theater housed in what was once the guildhall of local market vendors is located near the stock exchange. After WWII, the building was renovated and eventually turned into a modern, soundproof concert hall. Its famous performers have included The Clash, The Cure, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Lou Reed, among others. Every year dozens of concerts take place in the AB, as the hall is locally known. For a schedule and to purchase tickets, visit the AB website.

Town Hall

Brussels Town Hall is an intricate Gothic marvel that forms the focal point of Brussels' iconic Grand Place and is easily one of the city's most lavish civic buildings. The Town Hall was chiefly designed by two architects: the left wing by Jacques van Thienen in 1402, and the right wing by Jean van Ruysbroeck in 1445-1450. The two rear wings were added much later in 1712 but were designed in harmony with the architectural style of the original, L-shaped building. The exterior walls of the Town Hall feature numerous statues that depict saints, nobles, and other figures, each a vivid image of the people they represent. Uniting these efforts is the striking and exquisite Gothic tower at the center topped by a statue of St. Michael, the patron saint of Brussels. Inside, the elegant rooms are decorated with tapestries and paintings from the 16th, 17th and 18th Centuries. Brussels Town Hall is an arresting sight, especially when lit up at night.

David and Alice Van Buuren Museum

Built in 1929 in an art deco style for the Dutch banker and art collector David Van Buuren, this beautiful mansion was turned into a museum in 1973 featuring fine tapestries, blown glass and paintings by modern and classic masters. The most famous are Breughel's The Fall of Icarus and works by Ensor and Van Gogh. Contemporary sculpture exhibitions are organized in the garden. For group visits you must make a reservation.

Grand Place

Belgium's iconic Grand Place stands as a testament to the city's glorious cultural and economic legacy. Recognized as one of the most splendid market squares in Europe, its arcade is completely enclosed by tall, gabled Flemish Renaissance buildings decorated with intricate ornamentation and carved statues. Of the buildings that surround the square, the Town Hall with its Brabantine Gothic tower and the Neo-Gothic Brussels City Museum are especially remarkable. Impressive as it is by day, the square is even more stunning at night under the golden glow of street lights. During spring and summer evenings there is a light show that brings to life the city's musical and cultural heritage.

La Monnaie

Since Gerard Mortier became its director in 1981 (he now heads the Salzburger Festspiele), the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie has returned to the spotlight. Under the direction of his successor, renowned organist Bernard Foccroule, the theater is now considered one of the most exciting opera houses in the world. Opera here is indeed a spectacle! It also boasts a lovely bookstore where you can purchase CDs, souvenirs, as well as books.

Horta Museum

Art Nouveau was practically born in Brussels. Victor Horta (1861-1947), considered to be Brussels' master of the arts, designed this house and made it his residence until 1919. It was restored in 1991 and is now a museum. Horta is known for his design of buildings using industrial materials such as metal and iron, manipulated to look organic and natural. The city features many similar buildings.

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