In addition to worldwide well-known museums, Belgium as a lot of smaller, less known, unique museums. Time to pay a visit to one of these hidden gems. Here we list a few of our favorite places.
René Magritte Museum | Brussel
The Musée Magritte Museum, located in the heart of Brussels, brings together the world’s largest collection of the renowned surrealist artist René Magritte: 230 works and archives are displayed. The multidisciplinary space houses paintings, gouaches, drawings, sculptures and painted objects, as well as advertising posters, musical scores, photographs and films. The Museum also has the most important collection from the artist’s “vache” period.
BELvue Museum | Brussel
The BELvue is a center for democracy and history and promotes many projects. You will find a full overview on this website. It is managed by the King Baudouin Foundation, an independent and pluralistic organization, which aim is to work together for a better society. The Foundation was created for the 25th anniversary of King Baudouin’s coronation and contributes in improving in a more sustainable way justice, democracy and respect for diversity.
Museum Plantin-Moretus | Antwerp
The original residence and workshop of the Plantin and Moretus publishing dynasty offers you a unique historical experience, which is why it is a Unesco world heritage site. The building’s creaking oak planks and panels seem imbued in the history of books, the art of printing and the story of a family’s entrepreneurial flair. The oldest printing presses in the world can be found here.
Mayer van den Bergh Museum | Antwerp
Fritz Mayer van den Bergh (1858-1901) was far ahead of his time. He brought together a world collection with early and baroque painting, work by Pieter Bruegel, a beautiful collection of medieval sculptures and numerous applied arts. Fritz Mayer van den Bergh had a close relationship with his mother. After his death, she realized his life’s dream of setting up his own museum. Henriëtte van den Bergh also had a strong social conscience.
Eugeen Van Mieghem Museum | Antwerp
The museum is housed in Het Redershuis, an impressive building from 1896. Eugeen Van Mieghem [1875-1930] was fascinated by the thousands of emigrants who sailed with the legendary shipping company “Red Star Line” from Antwerp to America in search of a new life and happiness. 150 works in various techniques by the Antwerp painter and draftsman Eugeen Van Mieghem can be admired. He is best known for his committed oeuvre about people in a world port.
MAS | Antwerp
The MAS is more than a museum. It is an impressive repository in the middle of the “Eilandje”, a thriving neighborhood. Its Boulevard with 6-metre-high glass panels will take you 60 meters higher. You’ll encounter a new tale about Antwerp, the river and the port on every story. The collection boasts over 500,000 museum pieces. Permanent and temporary exhibitions offer a refreshing look at the city and centuries of contact with the world. At the top, on the tenth floor, you’ll enjoy a 360-degree panorama of the city, the port and the river.
Sint-Janshospitaal | Bruges
Sint-Janshospitaal is one of the oldest preserved hospital buildings in Europe. In the museum, you can learn more about hospital life in the past and how the wards would have looked then. Furniture, paintings, sculptures, silverware, and pewter ware are the silent witnesses of the care for bodies and souls that took place in this hospital through the centuries. The building’s supporting framework is unique and is one of the oldest and largest in Europe. The old apothecary’s and herb garden is also worth a visit. In the hospital chapel, the focus is all on the work of the most famous of the Flemish Primitives: Hans Memling. This painter lived and worked in Bruges in the 15th century where he created his most important masterpieces, including the famous Shrine of St. Ursula, which was painted specifically for Sint-Janshospitaal.
Arentshuis | Bruges
On the upper floor of this elegant city mansion with its picturesque garden (16th to 19th century) the oeuvre of the versatile British artist Frank Brangwyn (1867-1956) is on display on the top floor. Brangwyn was both a graphic artist and a painter, as well as a designer of carpets, furniture and ceramics. The ground floor is the setting for temporary plastic art exhibitions.
Museum of Fine Arts | Ghent
The Ghent Museum of Fine Arts is one of the oldest museums in Belgium. The collection consists of paintings, sculptures, drawings, etchings and tapestries from the Middle Ages to the first half of the 20th century ranging from Bosch to Magritte. The museum has an extensive collection of Belgian, but also international art. Every year, three to four exhibitions are organized.
Bastogne Barracks | Bastogne
The Bastogne Barracks Museum was opened in 2010. It is located in the barracks that accommodated the Allied Headquarters during the Ardennes Offensive in 1944. Restored parts of the barracks exhibit a collection of materials used in the fighting. The so called Nuts-basement shows the office where General McAuliffe spoke the famous word ‘Nuts’, that had a major influence on the outcome of the Offensive.
The Battle of the Ardennes, also known as the Ardennes Offensive, was the last major offensive of the German Wehrmacht on the western front in World War II. The battle took place from December 16, 1944 to January 25, 1945 and was won by the Allies.
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