Top 10 Unusual Museums of Brussels, Belgium

UNUSUAL THINGS TO DO IN BRUSSELS 
WITH MUSEUMPASSMUSEES & BRUSSELS CARD

Living here, in Brussels, as a holder of Museumpassmusées, I've visited quite a few unusual museums of Brussels, 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 10 Unusual Museums of Brussels with their location (incl, nearest landmarks), timings & tickets. After visiting all these I'll whole heartedly say - Is Museumpassmusées worth it? Hell yeah!!!

Where to buy Museumpassmusées? Online from the official Museumpassmuseés website or at the ticket counter of any of the participating museums.
Who can buy Museumpassmusées? Anyone with a valid resident permit anywhere in European Union. The pass has to be registered on their website with a valid European address. If the card is purchased online, it can be delivered only within Belgium.
How much does Museumpassmusées cost? €59 for 1 year
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???

Garderobe Manneken Pis Location (on Google Maps): Garderobe Manneken Pis
Garderobe Manneken Pis Tickets: €8 (together with Brussels City Museum) - included in Museumpassmusées
Garderobe Manneken Pis Opening Hours: Tue-Sun: 10AM to 5PM
How to reach Garderobe Manneken Pis: nearest Metro station & landmarks - Gare Centrale (near Grand Place, Mannekin Pis statue)
 
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.

Brussels City Museum Location (on Google Maps): Brussels City Museum
Brussels City Museum Tickets: €8 (together with Garderobe Manneken Pis) - included in Museumpassmusées
Brussels City Museum Opening Hours: Tue-Sun: 10AM to 5PM
How to reach Brussels City Museumnearest Metro station & landmarks - Gare Centrale (near Grand Place, Mannekin Pis statue)
  
Musee des Egouts Sewer Museum Brussels La Senne

Musee des Egouts Sewer Museum Brussels La Senne
  
SEWER MUSEUM (MUSÉE DES EGOUTS)
Did you know that like all other cities across the world, Brussels too had a river going in its midst?Brussels was built on the banks of River Senne. However as time went by, it became very polluted and became a 'dead river'! So it was re-channeled and send into a vault (tunnel) to flow underground in late 19th C CE. Now, River Senne goes underground near Gare du Midi, flows under Brussels City and reappears again near Mechelen. A portion of this vault can be seen from inside Sewer Museum of Brussels! Now, a bill has been passed to restore La Senne which would likely start in 2023. 
Apart from river La Senne, the museum gives an insight about water management, rain water conservation, sanitation, water purification and more.

Sewer Museum Location (on Google Maps): Musée des Egouts 
Sewer Museum Tickets: €8 (included in Museumpassmusées)
Sewer Museum Opening Hours: Tue-Sat: 10AM to 5PM
How to reach Sewer Museumnearest Tram station - Porte d'Anderlecht (Tram 51 & 82); 1 km from Gare du Midi.
 
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! 

La Fonderie Location (on Google Maps): La Fonderie
La Fonderie Tickets: €8 (included in Museumpassmusées)
La Fonderie Opening Hours: Tue-Fri: 10AM to 5PM; Sat-Sun: 2PM to 5PM
How to reach La Fonderienearest Metro station - Comte de Flandre
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 many 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 version of Arc de Triumph in Paris. 

Cinquantenaire Arch Location (on Google Maps): Royal Museum of Armed Forces and Military History, Cinquantenaire Arch
Royal Museum of Armed Forces and Military History Tickets: €10 (€5 for climbing the arch alone) - included in Museumpassmusées
Royal Museum of Armed Forces and Military History Opening Hours: Tue-Sun: 10AM to 5PM
How to reach Royal Museum of Armed Forces and Military History: nearest Metro station - Merode
  
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!

Coundenberg Palace Location (on Google Maps): Coundenberg
Coundenberg Palace Tickets: €7 (included in Museumpassmusées)
Coundenberg Palace Opening Hours: Tue-Fri: 9:30AM to 5PM; Weekends & summer 10AM to 6 PM
How to reach Coundenberg Palacenearest Metro station - Parc (near Royal Palace, Fine Art & Magritte museums)
 
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!!!

Fashion & Lace Museum Location (on Google Maps): Fashion & Lace Museum
Fashion & Lace Museum Tickets: €8 (included in Museumpassmusées)
Fashion & Lace Museum Opening Hours: Tue -Sun: 10AM to 5PM 
How to reach Fashion & Lace Museumnearest Metro station - Gare Centrale (near Grand Place, Mannekin Pis statue)

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!

Art & Marges Museum Location (on Google Maps): Art & Marges Museum
Art & Marges Museum Tickets: €4 (included in Museumpassmusées)
Art & Marges Museum Opening Hours: Tue-Sun: 11AM to 6PM
How to reach Art & Marges Museumnearest Metro station - Porte de Hal; Brussels-Midi

Centrale for Contemporary Art Location (on Google Maps): Centrale for Contemporary Art
Centrale for Contemporary Art Tickets: €8 (included in Museumpassmusées)
Centrale for Contemporary Art Opening Hours: Wed-Sun: 10:30AM to 6PM
How to reachCentrale for Contemporary Artnearest Metro station - Saint Catherine (7 min walk from Grand Place)

MiMA Museum Location (on Google Maps): MiMA Museum.
MiMA Museum Tickets: €9.5 (included in Museumpassmusées)
MiMA Museum Opening Hours: Wed-Fri: 10AM to 6PM; Weekends: 11AM to 7PM
How to reach MiMA Museumnearest Metro station - Comte de Flandre
  
POPULAR & MAJOR MUSEUMS INCLUDED IN MUSEUMPASSMUSÉES
Apart from these, within Brussels, the other major museums including Cinquantenaire Museum, Halle Gate, Musical Instruments MuseumAutoworldMoOF, Comic Strip museum, BOZAR, Train World, Meise Plantetuin etc are also included in Museum Pass Musees.

Royal Museum of Central Africa Teruveren Brussels
Frozen waterbody in front of the museum. Shattered ice after kids picked them up & threw them!

Royal Museum of Central Africa Teruveren Brussels


OTHER UNUSUAL MUSEUMS NOT INCLUDED IN MUSEUMPASSMUSÉES

One of the sad historical, colonial past is of Congo Free State. It was a region in Central Africa which was occupied by Belgian King Leopold II. The crimes against the locals, by Leopold II are way too many! One of the most horrible things was when he held the International Exhibition in Brussels in 1897, which included the Human Zoo of Teruveren (a concept that was relatively common in that era among countries that colonized Africa & Asia), where he brought in people from Congo and made a Congolese village set-up to exhibit them!!! It is in this very site that Africa Museum stands today. Originally it was setup to showcase the pride of the colonists, but today the museum takes its stand to educate how colonialism robbed Congo of its people, wealth and culture and infact steps are being taken to return artefacts of religious & cultural significance, esp., those acquired by forceful means, to be returned to the original communities in Congo.
As an outsider it was educational for me, but for a Congolese, I don't know how the emotions would be. As an Indian, when I was in London, my emotions were hard and sad to see India's  treasures in British Museums like Kohinoor Diamond (ofcourse) at Tower of London, Tipu Sultan's Tiger at Victoria & Albert Museum, Amravati Marbles (Elliot Marbles) at British Museum and so so many more! When I was in Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece, I understood they too shared a similar feeling about Britain regarding Parthenon Marbles (Elgin Marbles). I imagine, Congolese people too would share a similar feeling when they step in here!

DOLMEN OF DUISBERG: While you're here, ofcourse a walk in Teruveren Park is necessary! At the convergence of 7 paths here is a capstone of a Dolmen excavated in Duisberg, a nearby village. It is the 3 pieces that almost complete the circular cap stone of a Dolmen. 

Africa Museum Teruveren Location (on Google Maps): Royal Museum of Central Africa 
Africa Museum Teruveren Tickets: €12 (included in Visit Brussels Card)
Africa Museum Teruveren Opening Hours: Tue-Fri - 11AM to 5PM; Weekend - 10AM to 6PM
How to reach Africa Museum Teruverennearest Tram station - Teruveren (Tram 44)
Dolmen of Duisberg Teruveren Location (on Google Maps): Zevenster met ‘dolmensteen van Duisburg’ 
Hiking trails of Teruveren Park: via Komoot

Where to buy Brussels CardOnline from the official Visit Brussels website or Visit Brussels shop (near Couderberg) or at the ticket counter of some of the participating attractions incl. Atomium, Comic Strip Centre, Autoworld, or Natural Sciences Museum.
How much does Brussels Card cost? €28, €36, €44  for 24 hours, 48 hours & 72 hours respectively. It costs a bit extra to include unlimited public transport or Hop-in & Hop-off buses.
Is Brussels Card worth it? Ideally for a first time in Brussels, if it is a day-trip it is really not-worth it, because you'd most probably spend your time in the many free things to do like Grand Place, Manneken Pis, Koekelberg Basilica etc. For trips more than 24 hours, Brussels Card is worth it.

Teruveren Park Hiking Duisberg Megalithic Dolmen Brussels

Tram Museum Brussels Historic Tram ride

Located in Grimbergen in the outskirts of Brussels which can be reached by a small retour on the way to Meise Plantetuin. This museum is in 3 separate places Tommenmolen, Liermolen & Guldendal and I've been only to Tommenmolen, though the other 2 are located very close to it and can be walked. These museums are dedicated to how things were done ages ago without depending on technology and machines as we do today incl. woodwork, black smith, scaffolding & stone work, carts & wagons, bread making and more.  

Tommenmolen Location (on Google Maps): Tommenmolen,  
How to reach Tommenmolen: Located 800m (10mins walk) from Grimbergen town centre, which is well connected by DeLijn buses from Brussels Noord. 6km from Vilvoorde railway station. 
Tommenmolen Museum Tickets:  €6 
Tommenmolen Museum Opening Hours: 10:00AM to 05:00PM. Open only in weekends & holidays

While the Train World is very well known Tram Museum is not so popular. I'm yet to visit here, but what I've seen often is the historic tram, a ride on which is a part of the guided tour of the museum!

Tram Museum Location (on Google Maps): Museum of Urban Transport
Tram Museum Tickets: €8 (only museum visit); €12 (incl. historic tram ride)
Tram Museum Opening Hours: Tue-Sat: 10AM to 5PM
How to reach Tram Museumnearest Tram station - Trammuseum/Musée du Tram (Tram 19, 44 & 8); On the way to Africa Museum from Brussels City Centre
 
Chola Bronze at Art History Museum, Brussels
    
Museumpassmusees - Unusual museums of Brussels Museumpassmusees - Unusual things to do in Brussels

Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 78 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of Sept 2020. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands

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.

    ReplyDelete
  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.

    ReplyDelete
  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

    ReplyDelete
  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.

    ReplyDelete
  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.

    ReplyDelete
  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 .

    ReplyDelete
  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...

    ReplyDelete
  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.

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

    ReplyDelete
  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..

    ReplyDelete
  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!

    ReplyDelete
  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!

    ReplyDelete
  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!

    ReplyDelete
  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.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for visiting...! Why not leave a comment.? And tell your friends..!!!
By commenting you accept to our GDPR Policy.