Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique (Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium) is the largest museum complex in Belgium, and houses an array of museums including the Magritte Museum and the Museum of Modern Art. Located in the heart of Brussels, this museum has a rich collection of 15th-century fine art and artifacts, as well as modern artwork. Its prized possessions include a collection of magnificent paintings and sculptures, along with a plethora of documents and drawings. The museum offers guided tours and special packages for students.
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.
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.
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.
This museum is a fairy tale come true, not just for grown-up boys, but for anyone who ever dreamed of being behind the wheel at the start of a Formula 1 Grand Prix. You'll find modern sports cars as well as vintage antique cars, including Belgian Rolls-Royce of the 1930s and even a limousine owned by John F. Kennedy. More tranquil minds can dream away in the D'Ieteren Hall, that shows a fine collection of carriages and other equestrian items.
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.
Located in Central Brussels, the L'Espace Culturel ING Belgique (ING Cultural Center) presents a wide variety of exhibitions of art, history, and archaeology. Visit their website for details on the current show.
House of European History beautifully documents the collective history of the continent of Europe. A renowned cultural and historical center, the museum aims to promote and document some of the continent's most prominent moments in history. Housed here are a collection of important historical documents, photographs and other objects that depict some of the most memorable and influential moments in European history, that had a direct impact on the world.
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.