Top 10 Museums in Belgium

Rene Magritte Museum. There are two museums in Brussels dedicated to the works of Belgian surrealist artist Rene Magritte: one is the Magritte Museum in the Hotel Altenloh on Palace Royale, and another is the artist’s former residence in Rue Esseghem 135. The Magritte Museum of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium draws the largest number of visitors ever year and displays more than 200 works of the artist. Visitors to the Rue Esseghem Museum will find a biographical museum of Magritte, tracing his life and works from 1915 to his death in 1967.

Royal Museum of Fine Arts. Located in the Zuid district in Antwerp, the museum displays a massive collection of works by the Flemish masters from the 15th to the 20th centuries. The building itself is a work of art, built in 1884 in the Neoclassical style with bronze sculptures of two figures of Fame by Thomas Vincotte as well as four monuments that represent four branches of art: Architecture, Painting, Sculpture and Graphics. Featured works of art in the museum include those of Hans Memling, Rene Magritte, Jan van Eyck and Auguste Rodin.

Museum of Music Instruments. The home of over 7,000 musical instruments in Brussels, the MIM collection traces the history of Belgian music, European musical styles and even non-European instruments. Originally part of the Brussels Royal Music Conservatory, the museum was given a new home in 2000 in a four-storey Art Noveau building on the Montagne de la Cour. Each floor showcases a different collection of musical instruments and traditions – not to be missed are the replica of a violin maker’s workshop, the Rottenburgh Alto Recorder, giant Chinese stone chimes and a componium – a 19th century orchestrion which can compose different kinds of music. A tour of the exhibit includes headphones so you can hear the collection in the various floors.

Gueuze (The Beer) Museum. A museum and a working brewery in one, the Cantillon Brewery in Rue Gheude Straat 56 in Brussels is famous for making traditional Iambic beers for over a century.  The brewery is owned and operated by the van Roy family. A tour of the Geueze Museum provides the visitors a view of the brewing and bottling processes, as well as a sampling of the beers produced inside. The most famous of the beers made by the Cantillon Brewery is the Belgian Geueze made with organically grown cereals.

The Diamond Museums (Diamantmuseum).  There are two diamond museums in Belgium worth visiting: the “Image and Sound” museum in Antwerp which is said to be the Diamond Centre of the World; and the museum in Bruges which features an extensive exhibit of the history of diamonds starting from India to the gem industry in Belgium. The Bruges Diamond Museum also highlights a polishing workshop where a polishing demonstration can be viewed by guests.

Scientastic Museum. A visual and interactive adventure for the young and young at heart, the Scientastic Museum in Brussels is conveniently located near the city centre. It has over 90 scientific experiences that guests can see, touch and try their hands on. Optical illusions, scientific breakthroughs and discoveries and experiments will keep families and students entertained for hours.
Autoworld Museum. As the name suggests, the museum is dedicated to a collection of over 350 automobiles, specifically vintage cars. It is located in the South Hall of the Cinquantenaire Complex in Brussels. Car lovers will delight in the display of automobiles and motorcycles from 19th century onwards. There are eight sections in the museum: Time Travel, Belgian Motor Production, The Collection, The Mahy Collection, the Thirty Marcel Collection of Motorcycles, the Gallery Pierre D’Ieteren, the 1902 Motor Show and the Auto Design Story. Guests can see models such as the Bugatti and Cord 1930, a Ford Model T Speedster from 1927 and a carriage used by Napoleon III.

Museum du Cinquantenaire. Journey back in time and explore the history of mankind in this vast museum of archaeological artifacts. The museum’s collection includes objects from the major continents in the world and spans the prehistoric period to contemporary times. There is the Prehistory Hall, an antiquity department, European Decorative Arts as well as unusual objects from Southeast Asia, Oceania and other civilizations will amaze and educate guests in the museum.  The museum was founded in 1835 and is part of the Royal Museums of Art and History of Belgium.

Royal Institute for Natural Sciences of Belgium. The museum showcases impressive scientific and natural exhibits such as dinosaur skeletons (it has the largest dinosaur gallery in all of Europe), the iguanodons of Benissart, a gallery of evolution, minerals, 250 years of Natural Sciences and a Paleolab. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday and is located in Rue Vautier 29 in Brussels.

Belgian Center for Comic Strip Art. This is a unique museum which traces the history of comics and comic art illustration in Belgium as well as a display of the various cartoon art around the world. See Belgium’s most famous cartoon characters Tintin and the Smurfs and you can also get to read any of the 3,000 titles in the Reading Room.

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