Top 9 Unusual Museums of Brussels, Belgium

UNUSUAL THINGS TO DO IN BRUSSELS WITH MUSEUMPASSMUSEES & BRUSSELS CARD

Living here, in Brussels, as a holder of Museumpassmusees, I've visited quite a few unusual museums, just because they are listed as 'free entrance' with it, which I may or may not have otherwise.... You know, buying so many tickets, proves expensive!!!!!! This happened when I was in London too! I visited quite a few chateaus & monuments just because they were included in the English Heritage annual pass! So, here's my list of Top 9 Unusual Museums of Brussels with their location (incl, nearest landmarks), timings & tickets.
What to do in Brussels in January or February when its cold & snowy? MUSEUM HOPPING.
 

Unusual Museums Brussels - Garderobe Manneken Pis
 
Every person who has visited or who will ever visit Brussels, would have/will definitely stop to see the little peeing boy - Manneken Pis! Sometimes he's n*ked and sometimes he's clothed. Ever wondered where those clothes are or who makes them or who puts them on the statue??? Well, all these questions are answered at Garderobe Manneken Pis, a museum located a street away from the statue. 
Did you know there is an official job called the 'dresser of Manneken Pis' that has been in the City of Brussels Archives since 1756? Did you know there is a proper pattern of the outfit with measurements, taking into consideration the posture of the sculpture, that makes it possible to create an outfit in the opposite side of the globe? Do you know how many costumes does the Manneken Pis have? Did you know that there are more than 1000 costumes, so far, for this little fella???
 
Unusual things to do in Brussels - Brussels City Museum

Unusual things to do in Brussels - Brussels City Museum

Unusual things to do in Brussels - Brussels City Museum
 
While we are at it, did you know the sculpture of Manneken Pis is not the real one. The original Manneken Pis is located a few metres away from it, in the Brussels City Museum. Ofcourse, it has all the history of the city of Brussels as well as the gorgeous UNESCO Site where it is located - Grand Place!
This is one of the best museums in Brussels to understand the city's history, geography & culture. There are areas dedicated to stone work, wood work and ceramics of Brussels. Don't miss the very unique pot bellied ceramic sculptures that actually serve the function of a wine/beer dispenser!!!! Btw, the Beer Museum Brussels is also located very close to this.
 
A fascinating industrial history museum. This is divided into 3-4 sections dedicated to various industries of Belgium including textiles; musical instruments; food, dairy & brewery; and metallurgy. 
There are also some games for kids to play including their hand in basic carpentry, spanners etc. The huge cotton mill equipment are scattered outside, in the museum's yard and its possible to have a look at them even without entering the ticketed area. Some equipment there definitely reminded me of my stay in Ghent River Hotel, in a room which had these machinery in them! 
While the Royal Museum of Armed Forces and Military History is not very unusual, what many don't know is, the entry into this museum, also give you the ticket to climb atop the Cinquantenaire Arch! Also, the 'Aircrafts' section of the museum is just so so so fascinating! I haven't seen so man aircrafts, of so many different types & eras put together in the same place!!! The Cinquantenaire Park is the largest park in Brussels and has 3 museums in it with this being one. This is the Belgian Arc de Triumph. 
  
Once upon a time, the old Royal Palace of Brussels, Coundenberg Palace, towered upon this very site. In 1731, due to an accident, it burnt down. Very recently in 1980s, the excavations were made to convert it into a museum and make it accessible for general public. Today it is a series of underground cellars that give an insight into how the palace would have been centuries ago. 
While it can be seen anytime, the best time to see it would be in summer from end of July to beginning of September when the current Royal Palace of Brussels, where the royal family now lives, is open for public to explore. This is free of charge infact. Seeing the old cellars and the current palace back to back would give a very good idea of the history and life of the Belgian Royal family!
 
Belgium and lace go hand in hand. The delicate Brugge laces made by the women of Brugge have been world famous. This museum, again located very close to Grand Place, is dedicated to the various lace making techniques of Belgium, its history, its commercial value since ages, amusing facts, and so much more! What was very fascinating was, the way some of the intricate laces were kept under magnifying glass for us to enjoy and marvel the beauty of the artwork!!!

These 3 museums are dedicated to modern art and primarily focus only on temporary exhibitions. While I could share pictures of my visit, it may be very different when you visit, as the exhibitions change!
 
Vintage Handmade Brugge Lace

Contemporary Art in Brussels
 
Apart from these, within Brussels, the other major museums including Cinquantenaire Museum, Halle Gate, Musical Instruments MuseumAutoworldMoOF, Comic Strip museum etc are also included in Museum Pass Musees.
 
Chola Bronze at Art History Museum, Brussels
 
On Google Maps: Garderobe Manneken Pis, Brussels City Museum, La Fonderie, Royal Museum of Armed Forces and Military History, Cinquantenaire Arch, Coundenberg, Fashion & Lace Museum, Art & Marges Museum, Centrale for Contemporary Art, MiMA Museum.
All the museums can be accessed via metro or bus.

NEAREST METRO & LANDMARKS
Coundenberg: Parc (near Royal Palace, Fine Art & Magritte museums)
Garderobe Manneken Pis, Brussels City Museum, Fashion & Lace Museum: Gare Centrale (near Grand Place, Mannekin Pis statue)
Centrale for Contemporary Art: Saint Catherine (7 min walk from Grand Place)
La Fonderie,  MiMA Museum: Comte de Flandre
Royal Museum of Armed Forces and Military History: Merode (inside Cinquantenaire Park)
Art & Marges Museum: Hallepoort (near Halle Gate, Gare du Midi)

ENTRY TICKETS & TIMINGS
Garderobe Manneken Pis & Brussels City Museum together: €8; Tue-Sun: 10AM to 5PM
La Fonderie: €8; Tue-Fri: 10AM to 5PM; Sat-Sun: 2PM to 5PM
Royal Museum of Armed Forces and Military History: €10 (€5 for climbing the arch alone); Tue-Sun: 10AM to 5PM
Coundenberg Palace: €7; Tue-Fri: 9:30AM to 5PM; Weekends & summer 10AM to 6 PM
Fashion & Lace Museum: €8; Tue -Sun: 10AM to 5PM 
Art & Marges Museum: €4; Tue-Sun: 11AM to 6PM
Centrale for Contempoary Art: €8; Wed-Sun: 10:30AM to 6PM
MiMA Museum: €9.5; Wed-Fri: 10AM to 6PM; Weekends: 11AM to 7PM
Ofcourse, as mentioned earlier, all these sites are included in the Museumpassmusees as well as Brussels Card.
 
Museumpassmusees - Unusual museums of Brussels Museumpassmusees - Unusual things to do in Brussels

Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

14 comments:

  1. I haven't made it to Brussels yet but there certainly looks like there is lots to see when I do get there. I love to visit Museums and love the unusual ones. Who knew that there would be a job for someone on making the clothes for the boy, what a cool job. I would also love to see inside the palace and see the ruins of the old palace.

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  2. Brussels is still a spot we have yet to explore. It sounds like the Museumpassmusees is a great way to see a variety of museums. How interesting that there is a whole wardrobe for the peeing boy at the Garderobe Manneken Pis. I am sure it is fascinating to see the history of Brussels through textiles, instruments, food and metallurgy at La Fonderie. Since hubby is a vet, he would definitely want to visit the Royal Museum of Armed Forces and Military History. The Comic Strip Museum might we one we would add.

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  3. I haven't heard of Garderobe Manneken Pis before. I want to see this place. I add it to my bucket list. It looks wonderful. These costumes and masks look fabulous; they are so detailed, colorful. And there are more than 1000 costumes! It is so impressive. I want to see the Brussels City Museum. I like Fashion & Lace museum, too. For sure I will buy Musseumpass to see all places.
    I hope to visit Brussels soon this year.
    Agnes

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  4. We were in Brussels last summer but the only museum we saw was Tintin museum. But some of the other pictures here revived those memories.

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  5. I've learned a lot from your post! I visited Brussels and saw the Manneken Pis, but I didn't know it was not the real one. Garderobe Manneken Pis is an interesting museum as well, seeing his costumes sounds fun to me. I'd also love to visit Fashion & Lace museum. I'm interested in learning about lace making techniques of Belgium and its history.

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  6. Looks like a great city for museums and I was not aware of. I use to have a similar card for places to visit with kids in London and used it quite a bit. Something uncommon is the fashion and lace museum I must say and one great place if your family or kids are into clothing or fashion. The military museum would definitely be on my list . Overall a good collection of museums i must say .

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  7. One always find treasures when going to the less well-known museums. I would like to see the wardrobe of the Manneken Pis. I admit I only ever saw him naked. The La Fonderie sounds very hands-on where even kids gets to try things on their own and this I would be interested to see too. This looks like another trip to Brussels is calling...

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  8. Great post!! I have always been a huge fan of museums whenever I travel to new destinations. Even though I have yet to travel to Brussels, I still have a list of places I want to visit in Brussels, and now I have found some new mentions for my list like the La Fonderie. And even though Garderobe Manneken Pis seems a bit creepy to me I would love to give it a try too.

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  9. Very interesting museum...i remember a very similar museum in Glasgow

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  10. I can't believe there are so many museums in Brussels. The Garderobe Manneken Pis will be first in my list to visit. The statues look cute in those costume. Ok. Whose idea was it to make the pot bellied ceramic sculptures serves as a beer dispenser? Very clever! Wish they build something for non-beer drinker. Haha..

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  11. I am not a big fan of museums, but the museums in Brussels look fascinating. Would love to wander through the Royal Museum of Armed Forces and study the aircraft. Certainly an incredible collection of military history!

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  12. Some of these museums are really intriguing but I loved reading the story about who dresses the little peeing boy! So cool to know that there actually is a job role of dresser of Manneken Pis! I have never been to Brussels but I am sold on it, gotta get there someday!

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  13. I am not big fan of museums but these looks worth visits and glad to know few are free with Museum Pass Musees. I would like to visit Garderobe Manneken and Brussels city museum, looks fun.The story of dressing up peeing boy looks interesting.You have such great list!

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  14. I have a lot of questions about the statue of peeing boy. I mean, why????!!!
    I am so intrigue about the story, and this museum is definitely a must-visit soon.

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