Top 5 Museums of Brussels

1. Magritte Museum / Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

The Magritte Museum is a separate museum in a complex which houses 4 other museums. The Magritte Museum is by far the most interesting of the four but depending on your interests it may be worth it to buy a combination ticket for all four since it’s not that much more expensive than a single ticket.

The Magritte Museum is solely dedicated to the Belgian surrealist artist Rene Magritte. The museum displays his works in chronological order with letters and notes as background information. Magritte’s most iconic works are sadly missing from the collection, but nonetheless there are great works on display and the museum provides a good overall picture of his work. This museum outshines all other museums in Brussels in both the quality of the collection and the clear and helpful information provided

2. Bozar

Bozar is not so much a museum but more of a cultural centre. It has several concert halls, a cinema and large exhibition spaces. The exhibitions on display here are usually the best in Brussels but there is a big difference in the quality of the exhibitions. Some are must see exhibitions others certainly not. Bozar has no collection of its own so, pay a visit to their website to see what’s on and if it’s something that interests you.

3. Royal Museum of Armed Forces and Military History

The Royal Museum of Armed Forces and Millitary History

The Royal Museum of Armed Forces and Millitary History is not for everybody. First you should have an interest in the subject matter. And second, this museum is as much a museum of 19th century museums as it is a military museum. It’s one of the most old fashioned and decrepit museums we have ever visited. The curators have missed out on the maxim of ‘less is more’ and have stuffed each cabinet to the brim with weapons and uniforms.

With these sidenotes given, the collection is extensive and especially the world war one section is broad as is the collection of planes all displayed in a huge exhibition hall. As an added bonus, visitors to the museum get to visit the top of the huge arch which is connected to the museum. The arch provides a nice view over Brussels and the surrounding park.

4. House of European History

The house of European Hisotry is a completely free museum for everyone and tells the history of the European continent and the European Union. The museum is in stark contrast with the Royal Museum of Armed Forces and Millitary History as it is a modern museum with state of the art guidance throughout the place. It’s not so much a museum of objects as it is a museum of the European narrative told by the objects on display. The museum changes exhibitions every half year or so, the exhibitions are on a theme connected to Europe and its history. As this is a free museum, everybody should give it a try.

5. Horta Museum

The Horta Museum is housed in the private house and studio of the Belgian Art Nouveau architect Victor Horta. Horta designed several houses and buildings in Brussels, the four remaining ones are designated as UNESCO World heritage sites, the museum is one of these four. It is also the only one which is always open to the public to visit. Much of the interior and furniture is still in the original state.

Other museums

Brussels has a lot of other museums, some small others big like the Natural history museum, but none stand out in any way. So, if you didn’t find enough to see or if the museums covered are not what you’re looking for, here are a couple of other decent museums in Brussels.

The Museum of the City of Brussels is housed in the Broodhuys on the Grand Place. It’s a beautiful medieval building and it tells the story of the city of Brussels.

Museum of the City of Brussels

The Museum of Natural Sciences of Belgium has a large collection of Iguanodon skeletons, most of which are in the faulty 19th century position. But beside that, it has a decent variety of different dinosaur skeletons and is especially fun with young children.

The Art & History Museum also in the Cinquantenaire park, is a huge museum with archeological finds and cultural objects from all over the world. It’s a depressing museum as it lacks good signages and lighting. The huge halls are usually devoid of other people adding to the strange atmosphere in the museum. It has good exhibitions though from time to time.

Also read our list of the best museums in Amsterdam.

Grand Place

La Grand Place Brussels UNESCO World Heritage Site Review

The Grand Place of Brussels is the most important tourist destination in Brussels. But is it worth the visit? Globazine reviews this UNESCO World Heritage Site, exploring its history, beauty, uniqueness, and experience. Continue reading to learn more!


The market place dates to the end of the 11th century. At the beginning of the 13th century, indoor markets were built to showcase wares in bad weather. This way the storage and sales of goods could also be tracked to collect taxes.

The Town Hall was constructed between 1401 and 1455. This building is the only remaining medieval building on the square. It made the Grand Place the seat of municipal power. The Duke of Brabant countered this symbol of municipal power with a large building across the square. This King’s House (Maison du Roi or Broodhuis) served as a symbol of ducal power . The name is somewhat of a misnomer as no kings ever lived there. Over time many wealthy merchants and guilds of Brussels built houses around the edge of the square.

Broodhuis, Museum of the city of Brussels

The square was also used for beheading and burning of trialed people. Among others, the counts of Egmont and Horn, who had spoken out against the policies of King Philip II in the Spanish Netherlands. They were beheaded in 1568. This event marked the beginning of the armed revolt against Spanish rule.

On 13 August 1695, the French bombarded Brussels with cannons and mortars. They flattened the majority of Grand Place and the surrounding city. Only the stone shell of the town hall and some fragments of other buildings remained. The square was rebuilt in the years thereafter. This was done with more coordination, delivering the remarkably harmonious layout you see today.


Read more about how we rated the Grand Place and other sites at our UNESCO World Heritage Site Review.

Beauty 4/5

Grote Markt
City Hall

The Grand Place is an outstanding example of Gothic and Baroque architecture, oozing former wealth and glory. The different buildings fit together very well, with the Town Hall and King’s House stealing the show. But the different guildhalls are also worth a closer look, with unashamed exhibitions, gable, statues and guild symbols. As the square has just been restored, the buildings are in great shape. In the evening, the scene is illuminated and there are lightshows organised. The only minus is that many houses have been transformed into (tourist) shops and cafés, this detracts a bit from the overall beauty. This all results in a rating of 4 out of 5.

Uniqueness 4/5

The Grand place is a unique square. But you can find similar style houses and buildings in other Flemish cities. For somewhat similar squares go to Antwerp (Grote Markt) and Arras (La Grand Place and La Place des Héros). But those lack the combination of grandeur, originality and cohesive design of this square. This all results in a rating of 4 out of 5.

Experience 3/5

Admiring the different building won’t keep you occupied the whole day. You might also want to visit the King’s house. Nowadays it houses the Brussels City Museum, which has various historical relics. Furthermore, many festive and cultural events are organized on the grand-place. You can also have a drink and bite in one of the many cafes. But expect to pay tourist prices for nothing extraordinary.


The large uneven boulders which form the pavement can be difficult to navigate with a wheelchair. There is no signage and explanation available to support the experience of the visually impaired.

Value for money:

It’s a public square and therefor free to experience. The Brussels City Museum provides more context to the place and is cheaper than most of Brussels museums. Read more about this museum and other museums in Brussels in our top 5 museums in Brussels.
This all results in a rating of 3 out of 5.

Location 5/5

Grand Place

The square is right in the middle of Brussels’ city center. A five minutes’ walk from the Central train station of Brussels. Other highlights of Brussels are also close by. Museums, Manneken Pis, the Brussels Stock Exchange and shopping streets are just around the corner. So are the many waffle and chocolate shops and beer cafés. This all results in a rating of 5 out of 5.

Overall rating 4/5

Overall Grand Place gets a 4 out of 5 rating. It is a beautiful square, but it won’t keep you occupied for long. Luckily, many other sights are close by.

For more gothic beauty take a look at our review of Bourges cathedral.

Grand Place Brussels