Like many other European cities, the history of Brussels is prominent in its culture even in the modern world. Landmarks, buildings and artefacts all serve as a reminder of another time – and people from all over the globe come here to experience the unique atmosphere.
Here, we’ve made a list of the top five attractions that we feel history enthusiasts will enjoy while in the Belgian capital.
Brussels City Museum
The main port of call for those who want to completely immerse themselves in local history. The Brussels City Museum opened in 1860, and instantly began collecting data about the surrounding areas – even asking artists to paint certain places they thought wouldn’t be around much longer.
Today, it is the home of various objects of significance, which include paintings, tapestries and even gold. There is a huge wardrobe collection of clothes worn by the famous Manneken Pis statue, which is based near the Brussels Town Hall.
If you’re looking for something with a more global focus – then the Cinquantenaire Museum is perfect. There are all sorts of artefacts and applied arts to be found from around the ancient world, including Egypt, Rome and, of course, Belgium.
Specifically, this particular establishment hosts a statue from Easter Island – giving you the opportunity to witness a truly rare piece of history. There is also a collection of pre-Columbian art, as well as a number of Mosan liturgical treasures. With all of this variety, you’re guaranteed to find something of interest.
As the name would suggest, this was the home of Erasmus – a theologian and scholar considered by many to be one of the greats. He lived here in the early 16th century, during the Renaissance era of religious turmoil, and is a cult figure among historical buffs.
There is a small admission fee (all proceeds go to the general upkeep of the building), but it is well worth the money. Everything inside is unique to this house – such as oil paintings, prints by Albrecht Durer and some early manuscripts by Erasmus himself.
Cathedral of St Michel and Gudule
Not only does this cathedral provide a great deal of historical insight into the city of Brussels, it is also an incredibly beautiful building to look upon. Based high up on the hilltops, looking over the capital, this 16th century structure defines what the city is all about.
The building itself is inspired by the Notre Dame of Paris, and even today if offers religious services. But it is also a cultural landmark, and quite often it will host some sort of event – whether that be an art show or a concert.
Palace of Justice
While this building is used today as the home of the Supreme Court of Law for Belgium, it also has a great deal of historical significance. It took 17 years to construct (in the 19th century), and was designed by architect Joseph Poelaert after being commissioned by King Leopold II.
The structure itself was actually set on fire, and was the victim of several bomb explosions, on the night of September 3rd, 1944. It was the doing of the Nazi’s as they fled the area. It took three years for the damage to be repaired, and afterwards the dome actually stood 2.5 metres taller than it originally did.
If you’re thinking about taking a trip to Brussels, in order to visit all these fascinating places, then check out the excellent deals on flights offered by Blue Air.