Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudulal is the location for Belgium's royal weddings and funerals. It started its construction in the 13th-century and it was completed two centuries later. Various chapels were added during the 16th and 17th centuries. A striking figure of precision and symmetry, the cathedral serves as a monumental example of Brabant-Gothic architecture. Outside, two awe-inspiring towers attract attention and it is hard not to admire the intricate stained-glass windows. The remnants of the 10th-century Romanesque church, on top of which the cathedral was built, evoke considerable awe as well. Concerts featuring religious or classical music are also regularly held here.
For the 50th anniversary of Belgian independence in 1880, King Leopold II commissioned the creation of Cinquantenaire Park, also called Jubelpark, and its grandiose triumphal arch. Today, you can visit the museums located here or you can rest on the plush lawn and admire the solemn manor houses. The Great Mosque and the Temple of Human Passions can also be found here. Every year on July 21st, on the National Holiday, there is an evening fireworks display. Jubelpark is an ideal spot for everyone.
In this magnificent Old England building, one of architect Paul Saintenoy's creations, the Museum of Musical Instruments houses one of the world's largest collections of musical instruments: over 7000 strong. The exhibition displays an array of these, and visitors receive headphones so that they can hear the serenading tunes of these magnificent instruments. There is a museum shop and a library open by appointment. The restaurant on the sixth floor offers a breathtaking view of Brussels.
Visit all of Europe's highlights in miniature form. No need for the Chunnel when Big Ben is just a few paces from the Eiffel Tower. Added to the fun is the fact that you don't just admire Mini Europe's sights, you can also participate. Want to erupt Vesuvius? Just press the button. The miniature trees and plants in the park make everything appear realistic in scale. On weekends during the high season you can also visit at night and watch the musical firework display. Mini-Europe is fun for all ages.
Created by Engineer André Waterkeyn, and architects André and Jean Polak, for the 1958 World Exhibition, the Atomium is a landmark building inspired by the structure of an atom. To be more precise, the design is based upon the cuboid form of a unit cell of iron crystals, amplified 65 billion times to achieve a total height of 102 meters (335 feet). The nine gleaming spheres are held together by tubes, each sphere representative of one of the nine Belgian provinces. The final effect is that of a mammoth, geometric atom composed entirely of metal. The spheres are encased in stainless steel, and harbor exhibition rooms and other public spaces, while the top-most sphere hosts a restaurant with panoramic views of the city. The connecting tubes accommodate escalators, elevators, and stairways that link the individual spheres to one another.
During the 1958 World Exhibition, one hit exhibition was Vrolijk België (Merry Belgium). This amalgamation of 'antique' bars was meant to illustrate Belgium's high quality of life. After the exhibition, everything, apart from the Atomium, was torn down, but Merry Belgium is back. Now called Brupark, it houses a giant Kinepolis cinema, the swimmer's paradise Oceadium, the popular Mini-Europe, as well as the world-renowned Atomium. Brupark's village can be visited all year round. The bars and restaurants have lovely terraces; there is a playground, a Cyber Café and a beautiful Venetian carousel.
From dinosaur fossils to live tarantulas to rare gems, the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences Museum explores the natural wonders of our fascinating planet. The permanent galleries are unique and interesting, including a Gallery of Evolution, Insects Hall, and Minerals Hall. In addition to the permanent displays, the museum features several temporary exhibitions throughout the year, including interactive exhibits. This museum also serves as a research facility.
Facing the Egmont Palace, on Rue aux Laines, Egmont Park is home to several sculptures. Of all the statues within, the statues of Peter Pan and that of Price Charles-Joseph de Ligne are much adored. A slice of peace and quiet amid the bustle of the city, the park makes for a nice walk or a short picnic, no matter how old or young you are. Parc d'Egmont also incorporates interesting attractions that seem like they're right out of a fairy tale like an old Gothic well and an Orangerie, to name a few.
Leopold Park covers a large, landscaped space on Belliardstraat. With a history that dates back to 1880, the urban park still includes hints of this long, ancient history. Over the years, it has played many roles, starting out as a zoological park, then as a part of the campus for Solvay School of Commerce, and now as a popular public park. Home to a beautiful pond that's sustained by the nearby Maelbeek lake, Leopold Park, or Leopoldspark (Dutch), offers gorgeous views and a cool, shaded place where you can relax and soak up the sun with your family.
The five-floor Magritte Museum pays homage to world-renowned surrealist artist René Magritte. A trip through the museum provides deep insight into the Belgian artist's life. Along with 200 of his most famous paintings and sculptures, on display are Magritte's quirky creations such as vintage photographs, musical scores and surrealist film productions. During his brief stint in advertising, he designed a number of posters, which later fed into his artistic works. These are also displayed along with films that inspired him. The museum is part of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium and houses a center for conducting research on Magritte's life and works.
Maalbeekdaltuin as the Jardin de la vallée du Maelbeek is locally known is a small park in the European Quarter of the city of Brussels. Initially, it was used as a premise of the Council of the European Union before being renovated as a park. Now, this is a popular gathering spot for locals who like to spend some time in its greenery. In addition to its well-landscaped structure, it features a small gently-flowing stream that adds to its charm.