Museums in Belgium
Belgium may be a tiny country but it packs a punch when it comes to great museums. There are over 80 museums in Brussels alone covering everything from art and history to archeology, folklore and even beer.
Whether you’re interested in visiting Belgium’s fine art galleries or looking to learn more about its history, there are plenty of museums that combine the two. You will also find that many museums have English audio tours which really bring the exhibits to life, so you won’t miss out on anything important.
Belgium is also really easy to get to with DFDS. Sail to our port in Dunkirk, which is only a short distance from the border, and you’re ready to explore this superb little country which has so much to offer. Alternatively sail from Dover to Calais or Newcastle to Amsterdam.
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The Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Brussels
The Royal Museums of Fine Arts is a collection of six museums which all house different works, including ancient and modern art. They are the Musée Old Masters Museum, the Musée Modern Museum, the Musée Wiertz Museum, the Musée Meunier Museum, the Musée Magritte Museum and the new Musée Fin-de-Siècle Museum. Together they house over 20,000 paintings, sculptures and drawings, meaning you’ll discover some of Belgium and Europe's finest, with everyone from Bosch, Bruegel, Cranach, Memling and Jordaens to Rubens, Delveaux and Magritte.
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Hergé Museum, Louvain-la-Neuve
Fans of the comic-book hero Tintin will love this museum, which is dedicated to its creator Georges Remi, who wrote under the pen name Hergé.
More than 80 original plates, and 800 photographs, documents and objects have been brought together under one roof to celebrate the life of one of Belgium’s most famous artists. The building itself was designed by Christian de Portzamparc and is a beautiful work of modern art in itself.
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The Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst is Ghent’s museum of contemporary art, which hosts a collection of top works presented in an original and often daring way. Its permanent collection contains work from the likes of Karel Appel, Francis Bacon, Panamarenko and Andy Warhol, but is also known for its temporary exhibitions which tend to be provocative and thought provoking.
The museum is relatively new and only opened its doors to the public in 1999. It’s well worth a visit to see some lesser known contemporary artists and the Museum of Fine Art is in the opposite building so you’ll be able to visit both in one day.
Image credit: Marco Raaphorst
The BELvue Museum in Brussels tells the history of Belgium from its creation in 1830 up to the present day.
The exhibitions are divided over twelve rooms and explore major periods in Belgium's history, such as the Belgian Revolution and the two world wars. The museum uses different media to tell the story, including photos, documents, film archives and day-to-day objects. The museum is housed in a grand 18th-century building that used to be a luxury hotel and was also a royal household.
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Belgian Comic Strip Center, Brussels
As the country which gave the world Tintin and The Smurfs, comics are seen as an art in their own right in Belgium, and the young at heart can learn about the history of comic books at the Belgian Comic Strip Center in Brussels. There are also guided tours available to teach visitors more about Brussels’ history as a capital of comics.
Image credit: Thomas Quine
Groeninge Museum, Bruges
The Groeninge Museum offers a wide and varied overview of the Belgian plastic arts, including collections from the 18th and 19th century neoclassical eras, masterpieces from the Flemish Expressionism period and more. The highlight of the museum, however, is the work of the Flemish Primitives, dating back to the 15th and 16th century.
Image credit: Thomas Quine
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