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What to see in Brussels

Landmarks

  • the Grand Place-Grote Markt. Surrounded by the city tower and a range of beautiful 300 year old buildings. At night, awesome. Some evenings a music and light show is provided with the buildings serving as a canvas. Have a "Gauffre Liègoise-Luikse wafel" here (Belgian waffle with caramelized sugar)—the best ones are available from the little shops off the northeast corner of the Grand Place-Grote Markt.

  • Manneken Pis, - just a short walk from the Grand Place-Grote Markt is the Manneken Pis, a small bronze statue thought to represent the "irreverent spirit" of Brussels. This statue of a child performing one of Nature's most basic functions is believed to have been inspired either by a child who, while in a tree, found a special way to drive away invading troops, OR to commemorate a child who found a unique method putting out a fire, that threathened the city. Belgians have created hundred of outfits for this statue, each with a hole strategically placed to allow the water flow to continue.

  • Atomium built for the 1958 Brussels World Fair (Expo ’58), it is a 335 foot tall representation of an atom. More precisely, it is symbolic of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. Nine steel spheres 54 feet in diameter connect via tubes with elevators 105 feet long. Windows in the top sphere provide an awesome panoramic view of Brussels. Originally planned to last only six months, the Atomium is still today the most popular attraction in Brussels.

  • Parc du Cinquantenaire-Jubelpark Definitely check out the Arc de Triomphe-Triomfboog on the east side of town. It's in the Parc du Cinquantenaire-Jubelpark. Take Metro line 1 east, exit Schumann and walk east or exit Mérode and walk west.

  • Brave the tourist-trap restaurant gauntlet of the Rue des Bouchers-Beenhouwersstraat

  • the Bourse

Museums and Galleries

  • Les Musées royaux d'Art et d'Histoire (MRAH) - De Koninklijke Musea voor Kunst en Geschiedenis (KMKG), Parc du Cinquantenaire 10, tel +32 (0)2 741 72 11, open Tu-Fr 9.30am-5pm, Sa-Su and holidays 10am-5pm, closed Mo and various holidays, last entry 4pm; adults €5 -

  • The Musées Royaux des Beaux Arts-Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten feature both historical art and modern art in the one building. Opening hours: Museum of Historical Art Tues-Sun 10am-noon and 1-5pm; Museum of Modern Art Tue-Sun 10am-1pm and 2-5pm. Address: Rue de la Régence-Regentschapstraat 3, at Place Royale-Koningsplein, Phone: 02/508-32-11, Prices: € 5.00 adults, € 2.50 students/seniors/disabled visitors, € 1.25 children 12-18, under 12 free. Description: In a vast museum of several buildings, this complex combines the Musée d'Art Ancien-Museum voor Oude Kunst and the Musée d'Art Moderne-Museum voor Moderne Kunst under one roof (connected by a passage). The collection shows off works, most of them Belgian, from the 14th to the 20th century, starting in the historical section, with Hans Memling's portraits from the late 15th century, which are marked by sharp lifelike details, works by Hiëronymus Bosch, and Lucas Cranach's Adam and Eve. You should particularly seek out the subsequent rooms featuring Pieter Brueghel, including his Adoration of the Magi. Don't miss his unusual Fall of the Rebel Angels, with grotesque faces and beasts. But don't fear -- many of Brueghel's paintings, like those depicting Flemish village life, are of a less fiery nature. Later artists represented include Rubens, Van Dyck, Frans Hals, and Rembrandt. Next door, in a circular building connected to the main entrance, the modern art section has an emphasis on underground works - if only because the museum's eight floors are all below ground level. The collection includes works by van Gogh, Matisse, Dalí, Tanguy, Ernst, Chagall, Miró, and local boys Magritte, Delvaux, De Braekeleer and Permeke. Don't miss David's famous "Death of Marat."

  • the Horta Museum, 25, rue Américaine, Saint-Gilles, tel + 32 2 543 04 90, fax +32 2 538 76 31, mailto:info@hortamuseum.be, open daily 2pm-5.30pm, closed Mo, admission adults €7, students / seniors €3, guided tours available by appointment, tram 81, tram 92 (place Janson), bus 54 - the home of noted Belgian art nouveau architect and designer Victor Horta. Seeing where he lived and worked is a great way to get an introduction to the art nouveau style in Brussels. It is one of four Horta works to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List

  • the Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée - Belgisch Centrum voor het Beeldverhaal, Rue de Sables-Zandstraat 20, tel +32 2 219.19.80, fax +32 2 219.23.76, mailto:visit@cbbd.be, open daily 10am-6pm, closed Mo - popularly known as the CéBeBeDé

  • Musée d'Afrique Centrale Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA), Leuvensesteenweg 13, 3080 Tervuren - tram 44, The Museum is home to some truly remarkable collections. Its collection of ethnographic objects from Central Africa is in fact the only one of its kind in the world. It also has in its keeping the entire archives of Henry Morton Stanley which are of great historical value.

  • Musée BD is located in Europe's earliest Shopping-Mall (a shine Jugendstil palais). There is a permanent exposition featuring the early beginning of comics as well as it's development. There is enough room for other varying expositions. Tue-Sun 10am-6pm. Prices: € 7.50 adults, € 6.00 students/seniors. The bookshop Bd at the ground floor sells many different comics. A readers' library operates on the ground floor, where, for a low entrance fee, you can read many different comic books.

  • Snapping up a Bargain at the Flea Market. Each day, from 7am to 2pm, the Marché aux Puces-Vlooienmarkt in Place du Jeu de Balle-Vossenplein offers everything from the weird to the wonderful at rock-bottom prices.

  • Taking a Ferry Trip. The ferry in question is a tiny, electrically operated pontoon that makes a 1-minute crossing to Robinson's Island in the lake at the heart of Bois de la Cambre.

  • The BIFF is Brussels' international fantasy film festival (film fantastique in french)

  • See the history of film-making at Musée du Cinéma-Filmmuseum, it's free to look around, and classic and cult films are shown at low prices. Rue Baron Hortastraat, walk from Gare Centrale-Centraalstation.

Further Afield

Take Metro line 1A direction Roi Baudouin-Koning Boudewijn and alight at Heysel-Heizel.

  • the Atomium, approximately 5 mins easy walk from the station - re-opened on February 18 2006 after renovation work was completed.

  • Europe in miniature

 


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