10 Fantastic Art Experiences and Museums in Brussels


Belgium’s capital city is well known for its gastronomy and stunning architecture. There’s so much to see and do that you’ll be spoilt for choice. In particular, there are some fantastic art experiences and museums in Brussels, and we are sharing 10 of our favourites.

Street Art

Brussels has some really striking street murals and outdoor art, from Tintin and Captain Haddock…

tintin-wall-brussels
…to the anti-hero Gaston Lagaffe – you may feel like you’re living in the pages of a cartoon! There are all sorts of interesting artworks dotted around the city, like this statue of Gaston and this giant container by Luc Deleu, both on boulevard Pachéco.

boulevard-pacheco-art
Museums in Brussels – MIMA Museum

MIMA is one of the most interesting new museums in Brussels. Located in the newly renovated Molenbeek area, it focuses on street art in all its forms. There are some unusual artworks by talented artists such as the block prints by American artist Swoon. She uses coffee to stain her intricate linoleum block etchings of people.

Paul was particularly impressed by this rotating installation by FAILE aka Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller.

Enjoyed this art installation at MIMA Brussels #visitbrussels #urbanart

A video posted by PaulRenner (@dealmakerpro) on


My favourite art exhibit would have to be the whole room designed by Maya Hayuk. It has the feel of a cathedral with light streaming through the glass on sunny days. If you’re in need of some refreshments afterwards, there’s a museum café, and over the bridge there’s the Brussels Beer Project – just one of the many great places to eat and drink in the capital.

mima-brussels-visit
Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

The Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium on Rue de la Régence houses not one but 6 museums with  a superb collection of paintings and sculptures. In the entrance, you will find superb paintings by Belgian artist Constant Montald. This symbolist painter had an incredible eye for colour as you’ll see from La Fontaine de l’Inspiration and Le Bateau de l’Idéal, hung in the entrance hall of the museum.

art_museum_brussels_visit
Magritte Museum

Whether you’re a fan of surrealism or not, you can’t fail to be impressed by the Magritte Museum, one of the 6 museums in Brussels that make up the Royal Museum of Fine Arts. Spread over several floors, it showcases some of the artist’s most iconic works. Magritte was an interesting character who tended to paint in a suit. Many of his neighbours didn’t realize that he was an artist.

magritte-artist-photoHis thought-provoking paintings are instantly recognisable – for me, a sign of pure genius.

magritte-museum-brussels-visit
5 – Belgian Comic Strip Center

The Belgian Comic Strip Center, also on Rue de la Régence is well worth a visit. It’s housed within a striking Art Nouveau building designed by Victor Horta, originally a department store.

brussels-cartoon-museum
As this is Brussels, you will of course find a focus on Herge and his most famous creation, Tintin. Step inside the pages of some of his iconic books like the Blue Lotus. Up and coming cartoonists such as Pieter De Poortere are also represented.

cartoon-museum-brussels
Villa Empain

For sheer stylishness, the Foundation Boghossian at Villa Empain takes some beating. Located in an upmarket residential area, it’s an Art Deco masterpiece. From the striking front door to the rear swimming pool, the former home of Baron Louis Empain oozes timeless chic. Designed by Swiss architect Michel Polak, it’s now a museum promoting a dialgogue between Eastern and Western culture. There are some fascinating temporary exhibitions such as the current one featuring artworks by Daniel Buren, Jeff Koons and Andy Warhol.

villa-empain-brussels
Horta Museum

Brussels is known for its Art Nouveau architecture and the Horta Museum on Rue Américaine
 is one of its finest examples. The former home and studio of Victor Horta was constructed between 1898 and 1901 and is listed by UNESCO for its pioneering architecture. Entering the house, you’re immediately struck by the innovative open plan layout and how light it is. The museum has recently opened an impressive extension which will feature regularly changing exhibitions of contemporary artists.

horta-museum-brussels
La Patinoire Royale

This attractive building, La Patinoire Royale, in the Saint-Gilles district was built in 1877 and was one of the first roller skating rinks in Europe. Its new incarnation as a contemporary art gallery works well. The high ceilings, Neo Classical architecture and white walls show off the distinctive  artworks to their best advantage.

patinoire-gallery-brussels
Amigo art

Hotel Amigo is more than just a luxurious place to stay. There’s an impressive  art collection and also a Herge Suite. It’s the only hotel in the world that is authorised to use Tintin’s image. The Magritte suite is another stylish option if you’re a Surrealist fan.

tintin_suite_amigo
MIM – Musical Instruments Museum

Musical Instruments Museum may sound like a rather specialized interest but not so. Consistently rated in the top museums in Brussels by TripAdvisor, it’s located in a lovely building which is part Art Nouveau and part neoclassical. The 1200 exhibits are very well presented and there’s a lovely view over the capital from the rooftop restaurant.

Of course, there are many more art experiences and museums in Brussels but we hope to have given you a taste of some of our favourites.
Which one do you like the look of the best and are there any that you would add to the list?

mim-musical-instrument-museum

  • There seems to be so many wonderful and quirky places to explore! I love the look of Hotel Amigo.

    • It’s a lovely hotel and there was a famous politician there when we visited. There are lots of cool and quirky places nearby

  • The Tintin street art is so much fun and Horta Museum’s exterior truly does look very impressive!

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice x

    • Yes you can’t take photos inside the Horta Museum although you can in their new extension with the temporary exhibits

  • Villa Empain looks so gorgeous! I love art deco – I’d very much enjoy this museum. I am off on Friday, maybe I’ll go on a little excursion to Brussels.

    • You’d absolutely love it, Anouk and the current exhibition is really interesting. I wish they could keep the Daniel Buren installation permanently

  • Gosh it looks incredible!

    Beauty Candy Loves
     

  • astrid herkens

    Great list – I would add the Museum of Ixelles, a personal favourite of mine.

  • I visited Brussels a few years ago and I absolutely loved all of the street art!! I love your guide!

    http://thecourtneydiaries.com

    • I wish we’d have had more time to see all the street art, there’s so many interesting murals

  • What a brilliant list! This is another eye opener for me as I have no idea about the existence of these museums!

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

  • Paola

    Wow, such an interesting guide!!! Thanks for sharing!
    Kisses, Paola.

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  • So much art + beauty to take in! Love this!

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

  • alice

    Love reading this.!

    Alice Cerea
    babywhatsup.com

  • These pictures bring back so many memories. I loved the architecture, museums, & those delicious Belgian fries. :]

    // ▲ itsCarmen.com ▲

  • How cool the street art looks! I’d like to see Comic Strip Centre, seriously there are so many cool museums in Brussels!

    Ela BellaWorld

  • Ellese Launer

    Great collection of art work and what a range of work! Thanks for sharing. XO, Ellese

    Rock.Paper.Glam.

    • It’s an interesting selection, isn’t it! And there are quite a few more places that we didn’t have time to visit

  • The Royal Museums look really interesting! But there’s so much other whimsical art in Brussels! You look really cute in these pics too -:).

  • Yaya Gilmore

    Nice post!I loooove the magritte museum!And of course you can’t visit Belgium without a visit at the Comic museum!I love Tintin!
    xx
    Yaya
    http://www.yayavanchique.com

    • We were so lucky to have a curated tour of the Magritte Museum, it was fascinating!

  • Brussels really is an art city! My favourite gallery/museum had to be the Herge Museum, its a bit out of the way but well worth the trek. In fact I still have my Tintin souvenir tee from the trip! x

    West London: Chelsea, South Kensington, & Notting Hill – Posh, Broke, & Bored

    • I’d love to visit the Herge Museum, it’s definitely on my list for a future trip

  • Lucy

    Some wonderful choices the street art looks wonderful I can’t say I noticed it when I visited but then again maybe I wasn’t looking. I remember the comic strip magazine and there are some wonderful cake shops nearby so as a foodie that always makes for a great day. Reading this makes me want to go back Lucy x (FOODIEFORCE)

    • As a foodie, you definitely need to revisit it, Lucy! So many great cake and chocolate shops but a lot more besides like trendy fusion food eateries

  • I love artwork, every since I was introduced in one of my college courses. That said, I love to visit museums and I also believe that some of the most beautiful art can be found on the street; that mural is gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing and I hope you have the most amazing day!

    XO,

    Jalisa
    http://www.thestylecontour.com

    • I agree, there are some great examples on the streets – as long as they don’t paint on beautiful old buildings but they don’t generally do so

  • I love that this post is specific to art and museums!! I’m a big fan of street art and the royal museum of fine arts of Belgium looks wonderful. I need to re-visit Brussels and not just focus on the chocolate 😉

  • Great list of places to enjoy art in Brussels! Love the street art in particular!

    Miriam
    http://www.londonkitchendiaries.com

    • Thanks Miriam, there was so much interesting street art and the street art museum had some great artworks too

  • MelBTravel

    I love art & museums you always learn so much from them. This definitely places I would love to visit when I am in Brussels again. I especially love La Patinoire Royale in the old skating ring. Great post and I love your pictures too.

    • La Patinoire was so interesting, there were lots more photos that I didn’t have space to share – well worth a visit

  • So much art + culture to take in! Love this!

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

  • So many places to go! I love the look of Villa Empain, the building really reminds me of Villa Necchi Campiglio in Milan (also very much worth a visit!!) xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Life, Travel, Italy

    • Ooh we’ll have to visit that place when we’re next in Milan – thanks for the tip, Lucy

  • Hayley Rubery

    Suze your pictures are always so colourful and inspiring! I absolutely adore the street art pictures, my favourite place in the world for street art is Wynwood in Miami – so incredible!

    Hayley xo
    http://www.frockmeimfamous.com

  • I never knew there was so much to do in Brussels!

  • Euge Etcheverry