The BELvue Museum is Belgium’s primary history museum with a focus on promoting the values of democracy and pluralism in today’s Belgium. Rather than just recounting the history of the monarchy, the museum aims to help visitors understand modern-day Belgium by organising its exhibits thematically and using interactive displays to engage its visitors.
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What to see at the BELvue Museum in Brussels
The BELvue Museum underwent a redesign in 2016 and now offers an exhibition that provides insight into Belgian society. The exhibit covers various social themes such as democracy, prosperity, solidarity, pluralism, migration, language, and Europe. Through a thematic approach and interactive layout, the BELvue Museum presents the contemporary values of Belgium, its history, socio-economic development, and the functioning of its institutions.
PLAN YOUR TRIP TO BRUSSELS
Make the most of your trip to Brussels by purchasing the Brussels City Card online. With access to the city’s top museums and free public transport, it’s the smartest way to explore the city and save money.
To stay connected in Brussels, purchase an Airalo eSim online for phone and data coverage during your trip to Belgium.
How the BELvue Museum evolves through time
The BELvue Museum has undergone significant changes since its inception in 1977. The Hôtel Bellevue was initially converted into a museum building to house collections from the Royal Museums of Art and History.
Musée de la Dynastie and the Mémorial Roi Baudouin
However, it wasn’t until 1992 that the building began to host exhibitions related to Belgian history with the Musée de la Dynastie and the Mémorial Roi Baudouin, both dedicated to the monarchy.
The BELvue Museum, as a proper history museum, was reopened in 2005. It presented a chronological exhibition on the history of Belgium from 1830 onwards, with two suggested tour routes: the first in chronological order and the second related to the lives of the sovereigns.
During my first visit to the BELvue Museum, the display was still focused on the Belgian monarchy, offering a partial view of the history of the royal possessions in the Congo, reduced to three newspaper articles half-hidden among other reports of the time.
However, the current exhibition now narrates the values of democracy and pluralism in contemporary Belgium, providing a more balanced and comprehensive perspective.
The history of Belgium in the new exhibition
The BELvue Museum has a unique approach that focuses on seven social themes, namely democracy, prosperity, solidarity, pluralism, migration, language, and Europe. Exploring these themes gives visitors a contemporary perspective on Belgium and helps them understand its history.
In addition, the museum has a dedicated section where more than 200 objects are displayed in chronological order, creating a vivid and tangible representation of Belgium’s material memory.
The gallery houses everyday objects, works of art and design, scientific discoveries, and references to sporting achievements. Various items are displayed, including coffee filters, electric fryers, crystal vases by Val Saint-Lambert, and works by designers such as Van Beirendonck, Delvaux, or Van Severe.
Practical information for visiting the BELvue Museum in Brussels
The BELvue Museum in Brussels is open Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. On weekends, July and August, the opening hours are 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
The museum has free Wi-Fi, so you can discover the permanent collection through the online digital audio guide. You can visit the museum from an hour and a half to two hours.
If you stop for lunch, the BELvue Museum houses a lovely restaurant specialising in organic, seasonal and local cuisine. Like other Brussels restaurants, it has a Sunday brunch menu with sweet and savoury options. The restaurant is open to everyone, even those not visiting the museum.
Inside the BELvue Museum, the reception area hosts a bookshop with reproductions of famous paintings, books, guidebooks, exhibition catalogues and all kinds of Brussels souvenirs.
How much tickets for the BELvue Museum cost
A full-price ticket for the BELvue Museum costs €10, while children and young people under 18 get in for free. If you also want to visit other museums, you can save money by buying the Brussels City Card. Otherwise, if you just want to see the BELvue Museum, you’re better off buying individual tickets.
At the time of writing, the BELvue Museum is free of charge every first Sunday of the month and every Wednesday afternoon from 14.00 onwards (check the museum’s website for up-to-date free entries).
How to get to the BELvue Museum
The BELvue Museum is inside the Hôtel Bellevue, a neoclassical building overlooking Place des Palais and Place Royale, near the Royal Palace of Brussels. The museum is a stone’s throw from the MIM Musée des Instruments de Musique and the Musée Magritte. You can visit it with other museums in the centre.
The area is within walking distance of Brussels Central Station and the Parc/Park and Trône/Troon metro stations. There are pay car parks nearby, but public transport is the best way to get around the centre of Brussels.
Place des Palais, 7
Where to stay in Brussels
Brussels offers a variety of accommodation options. If you’re looking for a hotel in the city centre, I recommend the Pillows City Hotel Brussels Centre. It is just 100 metres from Brussels Central Station and a 5-minute walk from Grand Place and the Manneken Pis Statue. For a charming and authentic experience, you can stay at the Happy Guesthouse in a typical townhouse with an Art Nouveau façade. They serve a delicious homemade breakfast made with Belgian products. In the European Quarter, Ambiorix Residence is a great option. They offer rooms with private bathrooms, a shared kitchen, and a lounge area.
Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments on whether you have previously visited or added the BELvue Museum to your list of places to visit in Brussels.