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Grand Palace of Brussels

The Grand-Place is the central square of the City of Brussels. All over the world it is known for its decorative and aesthetic wealth. The Grand-Place is surrounded by the guild houses, the City Hall and the Maison du Roi. The Grand-Place is considered as one of the most beautiful places of the world. The Grand-Place of Brussels was registered on the World Heritage List of the UNESCO in 1998. Nowadays, numerous festive or cultural events are organized on the Grand-Place: the Flower carpet (77 x 24m, event organized every 2 years in mid-August and with more than 500.000 begonias; the Ommegang which commemorates the tribute created in 1549 during the coming of Charles the Fifth in Brussels to present it his son, the future Philippe II; the Christmas tree; the daily flower market; the procession of the Meyboom and concerts.
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The Belgian Comic Strip Center
The Belgian Comic Strip Center has been honouring the creators and heroes of the 9th Art for more than 25 years. The regularly renewed permanent exhibitions and a diversified programme of temporary exhibitions enable visitors to discover the countless aspects of comics art. Tintin and the Smurfs lead the way towards further adventures, an encounter with a world where creativity has no limits. Enhanced by an exceptional Art Nouveau home designed by Victor Horta, the Belgian Comic Strip Center is just as much a tribute to the pioneers as a glimpse of contemporary comics art.
Europa Building
The Europa building is one of the most recent and magnificent examples of contemporary architecture in Brussels. The enormous cube is made up of 3 750 restored window frames and contains a glass lantern that, at night, is beautifully lit up by 374 LED tubes. This ‘House of the European Member States’, with its multicoloured interior, is the main seat of the European Council and of the Council of the EU, and is where meetings between EU ministers and heads of government are now held. Philippe Samyn, the Europa building’s lead architect, sees it as the expression of a number of the values espoused by the EU. The façade thus consists of window frames from every EU country which signify both the diversity and the craftsmanship of every Member State, as well as the desire to promote sustainability. Thanks to the collection of rainwater, the use of solar panels across the whole area on the top of the building, and the optimised façade structure, the Europa building has been awarded the Valideo environmental certificate. The interior lantern, built in a shape that was necessary to avoid too much pressure being exerted on the ground and the underground metro tunnels, mainly contains meeting rooms and a large press room and press area.
The Horta Museum
The Horta Museum is established in the private house and studio of the famous architect, Victor Horta (1861 - 1947). Built between 1898 and 1901, the two buildings are characteristic of Art Nouveau at its peak. The house has kept intact most of its interior decors: mosaics, stained-glass windows, furniture, paintings and murals form a collection whose every detail evokes harmony and sophistication. The museum is also a centre for research into Victor Horta and Art Nouveau. The architect's personal archives, a collection of blueprints for his buildings and a library are open to the public by arrangement.
Belgian Chocolate Village
Near the Basilica, the Belgian Chocolate Village is one of the largest museums dedicated to chocolate. The scenographic tour displays and explains the stages of the manufacture of chocolate, its uses, its history, its benefits, its economy and its diversity. It appeals to all the visitor’s senses while a tropical greenhouse reproduces the conditions of cocoa cultivation. Thanks to the chocolate workshop integrated in the museum tour you experience the daily work of the artisan chocolate makers who let you taste their last creations.
Cinquantenaire Park
The Cinquantenaire park is comprised of a vast set of gardens dotted with monuments and museums. It is dominated by a triumphal arch with three arches. The park hosts numerous activities throughout the year: events, celebrations, firework displays, sporting events, concerts, etc. This place of interest was built in 1880 for the 50th anniversary of the independence of Belgium. The broad pathways lead to the Pavilion of Human Passions designed by Victor Horta, the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces & Military History, the Royal Museums of Art and History and to Autoworld. At the top of the three triumphal arches there’s a bronze quadriga and an unbeatable sweeping view over the whole of Brussels.
Located at the foot of the Atomium, Mini-Europe is the only park where you can have a whistle-stop tour of Europe in a few short hours. A truly unique journey! Enjoy a stroll taking in the typical atmosphere of the most beautiful towns of the old Continent. The incomparable chimes of Big Ben welcome you to the heart of London. The gondolas and mandolins invite you to discover the charms of Venice. Follow the TGV high-speed train from Paris to the other end of France. You can make the models work yourself: the eruption of Vesuvius, the fall of the Berlin Wall, a bull-fight in Seville, the take off of the Ariane spaceship and many others. All in all, 350 models and sites with an unequalled level of craftsmanship. Visit also the European area, packed with interactive multimedia games and the exhibition.
Unavoidable icon of Brussels en Belgium, important place for international tourism, unique creation in the history of architecture and emblematic vestige of the World fair in Brussels, the Atomium is today the most popular tourist attraction of Europe’s Capital. The Atomium was constructed for the first post-war universal world exhibition (EXPO 58) The nine spheres represent an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. They represent the faith one had in the power of science and moreover in nuclear power.
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The Forest and Waters Museum
The Forest and Waters Museum is located in the Domaine de Bérinzenne in Spa. Come and discover the many secrets of the fauna and flora of the Fagnes. Through murals, stuffed animals, interactive modules and its cheerful mascot, the Musée de la Forêt et des Eaux offers a real immersion in the enchanting natural world of the Spa region. Wander from one room to another and listen to birds singing, streams flowing, observe wild animals and learn about the famous Spa water and forestry. A new theme is chosen every year, inspiring an exhibition and an adventure: a treasure hunt for children to make the most of the site. The museum is nestled at the heart of the Domaine de Bérinzenne, the perfect start for walks in the Fagne regio and home for the CRIE de Spa welcome centre.
St Rumbolds Cathedral
St Rumbold's Cathedral was built in the thirteenth century. From the outset it was larger and more impressive than all the other parish churches and later on it became 'the church of the archbishops'. Originally there was a triple-nave cruciform church on the site of the vast cathedral. Only after a series of building campaigns did the church become a city's star attraction. The inside of the cathedral is breathtaking. You can admire Anthony van Dyck's painting 'Christ on the Cross', along with works by (among others) Michel Coxcie, Gaspard de Crayer and Abraham Janssens. The real showpiece, however, has to be the high altar by Lucas Faydherbe which dates from 1665.
Toy Museum
The Toy Museum boasts one of the largest collections of toys in Europe. You'll find toys from all over the world, from early toys to modern. There's much more to a museum visit than just looking: you can play traditional games and relive historical events such as the Battle of Waterloo as if you had been there in person. Which of these toys did you play with yourself? And would young children still do so today? The museum brings memories of childhood flooding back for young and old.
Kazerne Dossin
Kazerne Dossin is a very special place of remembrance for Belgium. As 'SS Sammellager Mecheln', the Dossin barracks was a waitingroom for death for more than 25,000 Jews and gypsies from Belgium and Northern France during the Second World War. A brand-new museum has been built to record the historical significance of this place for present and future generations and to illustrate themes like racism, exclusion and human rights. The combination of the human rights theme and the historical story of the Holocaust in Belgium makes Kazerne Dossin a project of European interest. The new museum was designed by leading architect and former Flemish Government Architect bOb Van Reeth.
Leuven Town Hall
The town hall is Leuven's pride and joy. Moreover, it's one of the best-known Gothic town halls worldwide. It took three architects and thirty years to build it. Leuven's 'Hall of Fame' features 236 statues, which were only added to the façade after 1850. These days the town hall merely has a ceremonial function after the city's administrative services moved in 2009. The tourist information center is situated on the side of the town hall. Also daily guided tours are available. The guide will tell you about the construction history of this Gothic gem. You will discover the story behind the 236 sculptures on the façade. Afterwards, you can visit the foyer, the reception rooms, the large and small Gothic Hall, the wedding hall and the council hall. Every third Saturday of the month you can visit the cellars under the town hall. These cellars have housed the ‘Jaartallen’ collection since the very first edition in 1890. The entrance is located at Grote Markt square next to the town hall’s flight of step.
Saint Peter's Church
Saint Peter’s stands in the very centre of Leuven. It was built as a Romanesque church in 986, and it is therefore the oldest church in the city. In 1176, the building was ravaged by fire (probably for the first time), and two centuries later, part of the church again burned to the ground. In the 15th century, the Romanesque building was gradually taken down to make way for the Gothic church you see today. This process took more than a century. Over the last century, Saint Peter’s Church has undergone several extensive renovations, returning it to its full glory. That is why Saint Peter’s Church is now generally recognized as one of the finest examples of 15th-century Brabantine High Gothic architecture, and it is an unmissable tourist attraction in the city of Leuven.
M-Museum Leuven
The museum displays old and new art inspired by Leuven’s versatility. The collection is mainly focused on the art production in Leuven and Brabant from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. It includes Constantin Meunier, Jef Lambeaux and Georges Minne. In addition to the permanent collection, M also presents temporary exhibitions of both old masters and contemporary artists. Discover the personalised offer for groups and families. The impressive architecture deserves special attention. Designed by Belgian top architect Stéphane Beel, the complex integrates historical buildings and contemporary architecture. Don’t miss the enclosed garden and roof terrace.
The Rubens House
In the heart of Antwerp is the home of Peter Paul Rubens, the famous 16th-17th--century Baroque painter. For four hundred years, he and his work have been a source of inspiration and a reference. And to think that he created the bulk of his work in this house. Rubens was a fan of Rafael’s, the Italian painter. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that in 1610, just as his idol, Rubens designed his own city palace. Near the Meir, which has always been a sought-after part of the city. This is the house where Rubens created his masterpieces, his children played in the garden and he received his high, noble and even royal guests. And in the meantime, a team were working hard on his paintings in the studio. At his peak, Rubens could not cope alone and led a team of professional artists.
EcoHuis is Antwerp’s green epicentre. Here you can find out how to build and live sustainably in the city. Visitors with green fingers learn how best to create their own ecological city garden and which animals and plants thrive in the city. Visit the Ecocafé for delicious treats and healthy snacks and juices as well as organic veggie meals.
The secret Vlaeykensgang alley dates from 1591 and connects Hoogstraat, Oude Koornmarkt Pelgrimstraat with one another. Walk through the gate at Oude Koornmarkt 16 and you feel as if you have journeyed back in time. In the past this alley was where the shoemakers and the poorest people in the city lived. The shoemakers were also in charge of sounding the alarm bell of the cathedral. These days you can find antiques stores and art galleries here as well as the exclusive restaurant Sir Anthony Van Dyck. The atmosphere is very intimate which is why many people also like to come here to listen to the carillon concerts during the summertime.
Cathedral of Our Lady
The Cathedral is an iconic treasury, with an impressive collection of major art works, including a series of paintings by Rubens. Now, after twenty years, the seven-naved church has been restored to its former architectural glory. Fascinating features include Rubens’ ‘Elevation of the Cross’ and his ‘Descent from the Cross’. After 169 years of construction the cathedral of Antwerp finally dominated Antwerp's skyline in 1521 with a height of 123 metres. It's the highest Gothic building in the Low Countries. Any visit to Antwerp starts with a visit of the Cathedral of Our Lady!
Saint James's Church
St James‘ Church is the starting point for pilgrims journeying to the burial place of St James the Greater in Santiago de Compostela. The church is also known for the resting place of Rubens. This church, which is within short walking distance from Antwerp’s main shopping street Meir, is one of the largest churches in Antwerp. Like so many other European cities Antwerp also has a sanctuary for St. James. In the early fifteenth century there was a hospice here, which welcomed Northern European pilgrims travelling to the tomb of the apostle James in Santiago de Compostela. In 1413 a chapel, dedicated to St. James, was added to the hospice. Soon the chapel proved too small. As a consequence construction started on the current church in Brabant Gothic style in 1491. It would take no less than 175 years to complete the church. St. James’s Church served as parish church for several smaller crafts and guilds and religious brotherhoods. The choir was completed during the Baroque period with the tombs and chapels of wealthy families. The most famous memorial chapel is that of the Antwerp Baroque master Peter Paul Rubens. He painted the altarpiece Madonna Surrounded by Saints in the chapel. Elsewhere in the church you can admire a masterpiece by Jacob Jordaens. St. James’s Church has one of the oldest working tower clocks.
The Antwerp Canals (Ruien)
Visit The Ruien, a truly unique attraction, and walk through Antwerp's former canals and sewers. During this adventurous and astonishing underground walk you'll discover some of Antwerp's exciting and rich history. Sewers, streams and ramparts have criss-crossed the city since the Middle Ages. This network of waterways provided Antwerp with drinking water and an inland port. Later, the waterways served as sewers. They were eventually covered with vaulted ceilings. This unique piece of heritage disappeared from view. Now you can rediscover this hidden patrimony. A visit to The Ruien is a walk along old vaulted ceilings, narrow canals, bridges, sewers and sluices. You'll get a peak at the underbelly of the city and hear secretive anecdotes and fascinating facts from the distant and recent past.
Grote Markt
Grote Markt originally was a forum or square just outside the medieval residential quarter. In 1220 Duke Henry I of Brabant (1165-1235) donated this community land to the city. The name Merckt was used for the first time in 1310. Around this time the first annual markets or foren van Brabant (Brabant fairs) were organised. Here English merchants would do business with Italians, Spaniards and merchants from the Northern German Hanseatic cities as well as from Southern Germany and Flemings of course. At the end of the fifteenth century Antwerp overtook Bruges as the most prominent city of the Low Countries.
Museum aan de Stroom
Visitors to Antwerp have been flocking to the hip Eilandje district, an old dockside neighbourhood, to visit the MAS | Museum aan de Stroom, which opened in 2011. This is where the city and the port – the second largest port in Europe even – converge. The stunning architecture and the museum collection are perfect examples of this. The MAS has a phenomenally large collection, which to date comprises about 500,000 items, including artworks and utensils. New objects are constantly being added to the collection. The museum uses its entire collection to weave a new narrative, based on five universal themes, on just as many floors. The MAS takes a closer look at power politics and world ports. At how food shaped and will shape today’s metropolises in the past, present and future. And at life and death, of people and gods, in the upper and under world. Moreover, the third floor and the walking boulevard host some fascinating and highly diverse temporary exhibitions.
The Trazegnies Castle
Trazegnies was the seat of a powerful seigniory and the cradle of one of the most illustrious families in Europe. Trazegnies' family possessed a castle worthy of her. Over the centuries, the castle has undergone a great many transformations. The splendid main building is a jewel in Belgium’s crown and is almost unique in the country, displaying architecture in the style of Louis XIII. The Romanesque cellars still survive today from the primitive manor, a rare testimony of the 11th century. Today, part of the castle is available for hire for different events: seminars, buffets and much more.
Abbey of Oignies
Dating back to the end of the 13th century, the Oignies Abbey is located in a classified and preserved historic setting. Its robust silhouette stands on the foundations of the old chapel Saint-Nicolas, dedicated to the patron saint of boatmen. The abbey is known worldwide for its cultural, social and economic activities which throughout the centuries have allowed it to flourish. His treasure is considered one of the seven wonders of Belgium. It was a meeting place and residence of illustrious personalities and the production workshop of goldsmith Hugo d'Oignies. His invaluable pieces are always present in Namur. Also place where Sainte Marie d'Oignies lived exhilarating hours as well as. Nestled in a park of 3 ha, the abbey is planted with beautiful trees more than a hundred years old; this secure park is entirely walled and is on the edge of the Sambre. The Abbey of Ognies offers its guests what they need to feel at home. Thousands of guests from all over the world and of all ages have crossed paths and crossed each other for more than 800 years.
BPS22 Art Museum
The BPS22, the Hainaut Province's Museum of Art in Charleroi, is an exhibition space especially dedicated to art forms focusing on current social issues. The museum's programme gives prominent space to international artists that deal with greater global issues, such as Kendell Geers, Jota Castro, mounir fatmi and Wang Du, as well as cultural phenomena characteristic of our time, such as the world of media and urban subcultures like punk or graffiti, for instance. With a wealth of over 7000 works of art, dating from the end of the 19st century to the present time, and including paintings to videos and performance, as well as installations and tapestries and a large archive collection, the Hainaut Province Collection is stored at the BPS22.
Museum of Fine Arts Ghent
The strength of the Museum of Fine Arts (MSK) in Ghent, one of the oldest museums in Belgium, lies in the varied nature of its collection, which is nothing short of remarkable. Never before have old masters and modernists hung side-by-side so perfectly as in this iconic museum building. At the end of the 18th century, Ghent was under French rule and many of the city’s art treasures were seized. Some of them can still be seen in the Louvre in Paris today. Rebellious Ghent wasn’t having any of it and slowly began to establish a wide-ranging art collection, searching for years to find an appropriate building. The ideal location was found in the building designed by the architect Van Rysselberghe in the Citadelpark, a museum with a fantastic feeling of spaciousness and a lot of light. The collection, which ranges from Hieronymus Bosch to Rubens and Magritte, has never been shown more attractively than it is today. It covers an enormous variety of paintings, statues, drawings, etchings and tapestries, from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. An auditorium, a library, a children’s workshop and a brasserie turn the MSK into a contemporary, multipurpose complex where you can spend many a pleasant hour surrounded by beauty during your weekend trip to Ghent. Why not take a virtual peek inside the MSK now?
SMAK Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art
Lovers of contemporary art absolutely can’t afford to miss a visit to the S.M.A.K. during their weekend in Ghent. The Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art, or S.M.A.K. for short (in Dutch), was founded in 1999 and is located opposite the MSK in a former casino building. The city of Ghent is known for its rebelliousness, and its contemporary art museum is every bit as dynamic and unconventional as Ghent itself. The collection is considered to be the most important collection of contemporary art in Flanders, with world-famous works of art from Belgium and abroad. Every four months, the museum exhibits a selection of these works in alternation with original, often daring exhibitions. Recover at leisure from the assault on your senses in the museum café. Under the inspiring leadership of the controversial curator and ‘art pope’ Jan Hoet, the former ‘contemporary art wing’ of the MSK was given its own museum, the S.M.A.K. The permanent collection at this museum for contemporary art includes top Belgian and international works of art by Cobra, pop art, minimal art, conceptual art and arte povera artists, who are now among the most famous artists in the world.
St Bavos Cathedral
This magnificent sight on Sint-Baafsplein in Ghent is a proud old lady: don’t just walk past her on your city trip. St Bavo’s Cathedral is the oldest parish church in the lively heart of Ghent. It stands on the site of a 10th century church and a 12th century Romanesque church. The latter was dedicated to St John the Baptist. In the Middle Ages, Ghent was a rich and powerful city that had the means to commission ever-larger and more opulent churches. So the Church of St John the Baptist was converted during the 15th and 16th centuries into the imposing Gothic St Bavo’s Cathedral. St Bavo’s Cathedral has a rich history and it is also filled with art treasures that make many an art-lover’s mouth water: from the baroque high altar in white, black and red flamed marble, the Rococo pulpit in oak, gilded wood and marble, to a masterpiece by Rubens: Saint Bavo enters the Convent at Ghent, and the Calvary Triptych by Justus van Gent, the Gothic chandelier/sanctuary lamp, the opulent tombs of the Bishops of Ghent – and of course the world-famous Mystic Lamb.
STAM - Ghent City Museum
The STAM is the ideal place to start your cultural holiday in Ghent, an unmistakeably contemporary building against a historic backdrop. Ghent is a city of every era, and the same applies to the modern Ghent City Museum: the 14th-century abbey, 17th-century convent and new 21st-century building all form part of the STAM. The STAM tells the story of Ghent from the Middle Ages to the present day, with imaginative collections and interactive multimedia. The past, present and future of the city are presented in a clear and interesting way: from mediaeval metropolis to city of knowledge and culture. The eye-catcher at Ghent City Museum, the STAM, is a gigantic aerial photograph of Ghent (measuring 300 m2!) that you are allowed to walk all over. Use the multimedia app to see Ghent in detail in four different centuries. ‘Views of Ghent’ shows a view of the city in 1534, maps from 1641 and 1912 and a contemporary aerial photograph. Ghent’s ‘arts quarter’ is not only home to impressive historic buildings, but also to quiet green spaces, parks and gardens where you can fully recharge your batteries.
Ghent Belfry
Look up at the magical city skyline for a moment during your weekend trip in Ghent: you can’t miss it. The Belfry is the middle tower in the famous row of three, between St Bavo’s Cathedral and St Nicholas’ Church. A fiery dragon, the proud symbol and mascot of Ghent, guards the historic heart of the city. The Ghent Belfry symbolises the city’s prosperity and independence. The Cloth Hall, built onto the Belfry, was completed in 1907. The flamboyant Brabant Gothic style of the Cloth Hall is an ode to the industry to which Ghent owes so much. On the corner of the Cloth Hall is an old jailer’s house. Every Sunday morning you can hear the carillonneur at work between 11 am and 12 noon. And you can enjoy a carillon concert on the first Friday of each month from 8 to 9 pm. In the summer months, the concert takes place every Saturday night!
Museum of Industry
Ghent is proud of its industrial past, and that makes the Museum of Industry a hotspot for many Ghent locals: a sight in Ghent that needs to be on your to-do list for your city trip. Much of the industrial heritage that bore witness to the first and second industrial revolutions was scrapped and demolished from the 1970s onwards. Ghent City Council has made efforts to preserve machines and objects. In the main exhibition “About people and machinery” the Museum of Industry tells the story of the industrial revolutions. In addition, the museum features two other exhibitions. “Three centuries of graphic industry” will show you the evolution of the printing industry over the past 300 years. In “From cotton plant to finished product” you will discover how cotton is processed as well as the different weaving methods.
St Nicholas' Church
This church in Tournai bluestone is one of the most beautiful examples of the Scheldt Gothic style. One of its unique elements is that the tower is not above the entrance but above the crossing of the nave and transepts. It functions as a sort of natural lantern as the light shines into the transept from the tower.
House of Alijn
The House of Alijn museum in Ghent puts the ordinary daily life of 20th-century people in the spotlight. This was once the ‘Children of Alijn hospice’. It is the only almshouse—a charitable institution where the old and sick were cared for—to have been preserved in Ghent. Traditions and rituals belong to the past and present. Daily routines and special events determine the rhythm of your life. During your weekend trip to Ghent, enjoy the customs, traditions and rituals at the House of Alijn museum that recall a recent or more distant past. Go ‘Back to the future’: rediscover your very first baby photos, marbles in the playground, your first love, the excitement of the summer holidays... The way we approach ‘occasions and emotions’ changes over time: it is both personal and universal. Find out that everyday life is anything but ordinary. Enjoy these collective memories in the lovely courtyard garden and a typical working-class pub. We recommend it!