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Best Hidden Gems in Brussels

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The former residence of Van Eetvelde, also called Hôtel van Eetvelde, is a beautiful townhouse that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built by Victor Horta between 1895 and 1898, this house exemplifies the Art Nouveau style that the architect helped establish. Marvel at the narrow building's use of light and curving lines that creates a unique style.

Jean-Felix Hap Park is a beautiful garden park that is located in Etterbeek. The property also includes the ruins of a 16th century castle. In 1804 the mayor of Etterbeek, Albert Joseph Hap, bought the property, which was eventually donated to the city in 1988. There are many benches and tables here to lounge at. Recently, some of the park has been converted in to a educational space that showcases examples of different home gardens with a diversity of plants and native animals.

Housed under the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, the Museum of Old Masters, as the name suggests, presents a vast collection of art from the 15th through the 18th century of French and Dutch origin. This museum houses painting from the Flemish Renaissance and Baroque periods, including works by Bosch, Rubens, Van Dyck, and many more. There is a museum shop and a cafe on the premises.

The Temple of Human Passions, also called the Pavillon Horta-Lambeaux, was made by Victor Horta in 1896 in Cinquantenaire Park. The structure has a neoclassical design with a hint Horta's famous Art Nouveau style. The building was created to hold the "Human Passions" relief by Jef Lambeaux, but due to an argument between the artist and the architect the building remained mostly closed. Currently the building is only open for a short period of time a few days a week during summer. Lambeaux's large relief is based on human sins and pleasures and so you may not want to bring young children to see the artwork.

Located in the corridor and the waiting room of Military Hospital's radiology department, the Museum of Radiology shows some of the great achievements in the radiology scientific field. This small unique museum exhibits photos and artifacts that chronicles the scientific field, including showing unique x-rays. To witness the path of progress and development, Museum of Radiology is a must visit!

This is the house where the great Belgian Surrealist painter René Magritte lived from 1930 to 1954. Transformed today into a wonderful museum, it is now redecorated with authentic furniture and design. Musée René Magritte allows the visitor to understand how this great painter lived and worked and includes detailed information about his personal life. Those who would also like to see his masterpieces can visit the Museum of Modern Art.

Located in the area of Ixelles, the Ixelles Ponds are a set of two ponds that make for a popular gathering place for locals. The water here is not safe for contact and so visitors are not allowed enter the pond. One can walk along the shore and enjoy the peace or enjoy the picturesque Art Nouveau houses nearby. Sit down on a bench and out look out onto the water to admire the waterfowl or enjoy a picturesque walk around the ponds.

This wonderful museum is for children aged four to twelve and is a must for every parent. The museum's exhibits help them discover their feelings, talents and senses. Professional performers welcome and guide you through the discovery rooms. These tours last two hours and can be enjoyed by both young and old. They are organized around themes from daily life with changing themes throughout the year. Visit their website for varying dates.

Set within the bleached brick walls of a forgotten time, it is hard to believe that Our Lady with the Rose Hospital, a stunning Medieval complex once functioned as a hospital. From 1242 to 1980, the historic building of Our Lady with the Rose served as a functioning hospital, seeing countless advancements in medical science. It underwent restoration to become a museum exhibiting hospital artifacts from the Middle Ages and beyond. Some of these artifacts include porcelain tins from Tournai, 140 objects of silverware, and as many as 2000 ancient books that currently grace the shelves of the hospital's library. The timeless aura at the Our Lady with the Rose Hospital is manifested in several of its restored components. These include elegantly symmetric cloisters, peaceful Baroque chapels, exquisitely landscaped gardens, meticulously maintained hospital rooms, and original medical and pharmaceutical collections.

Petit Sablon Square, also called Place du Petit Sablon, is a beautiful square and garden that was built in the late 1800s. The square is surrounded by 48 statues symbolizing medieval guilds, giving you an insight into how people used to live. This lovely landscaped garden also features a fountain with the figures of the Count of Egmont and Count of Horn.

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.

Laeken Cemetery was a major burial site for Brussels' upper and middle classes throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. The cemetery features fine examples of funerary art of this period. The grounds also feature an original bronze cast of Rodin's famous sculpture The Thinker. Right next to the cemetery is the Church of Our Lady of Laeken, which is also the final resting place of the Belgian royal family.

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