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Museum nights in Brussels: extraordinary discoveries

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(c) Andrea-Anoni

Brussels has more than a hundred museums so you may not have enough time to explore the city's extensive cultural diversity. Fortunately, the Nocturnes 2021 late-night openings are organised every Thursday evening from April to June, giving you more time to discover museums in Brussels in a different light, outside regular opening hours!

Open from 17:00 to 22:00, these after-hour events are an excellent opportunity to visit museums in a new and totally different context. Exciting museums covering subjects ranging from beer and sewers to poetry and banknotes, are all located in Brussels and its neighbourhoods. Here’s our selection of museums in which to discover exciting new worlds!

1.     MUSEUM OF THE NATIONAL BANK OF BELGIUM 

Have you ever dreamt of robbing a bank but never dared? If so, now’s the time to seize your chance by buying a ticket for the National Bank of Belgium. Housed in a magnificent 19th century building (look up to admire its impressive glass roof and colonnades!), you will learn everything you ever wanted to know about the issuing of coins and banknotes and the level of inflation, but also about the evolution of payment methods or the place of money in our daily lives.

Nocturnes 2021 programme: An extraordinary escape game for all the family: "the safes test".

2.     SCHAERBEEK BEER MUSEUM

Feeling thirsty? Visit the Schaerbeek beer museum! Located in the workshop of a former school and surrounded by a beautiful garden, this museum’s didactic tour highlights one of the most typical products of Brussels. In a breathtaking vintage decor, discover bottles and glasses (including some exceptionally unique items), signs and other advertising items, and don't forget to visit the old tavern (closed until further notice) where you can sample the local hoppy beverage.

Nocturnes 2021 programme: in addition to the guides, the museum offers a concert by the jazz-folk duo Nisia.

Musée Schaerbeekois de la Bière - © Antoine Sedran

3.     MAURICE CARÊME MUSEUM

Do you want to enchant the world with a little poetry? The Maurice Carême Museum does much more than simply tell the story of the poet's life and work; it takes us to the heart of his universe and intimacy. The "white house" that is home to the museum and which has remained untouched since his death (1978), has an inimitable look and feel. In the rooms decorated with works of art (Paul Delvaux and Jules Lismonde) and among the period furniture and archives, the ornaments and the poetry library, it is easy to imagine the poet sitting at his desk in the company of his faithful companions: his parrot Coco and his cat Youppi!

Nocturnes 2021 programme: in addition to the guides, poems by Maurice Carême are read in the poet's gardens.

4.     MUSEUM OF MEDICINE

The Museum of Medicine is intended for anyone who is passionate, an expert of or simply curious about medicine and medical ideas in art, history and literature, from antiquity to the present day. African healing amulets, anatomical waxes, texts and graphic documents on the history of surgery are part of the museum's rich collections. Erasmus Hospital is located nearby, so the museum is able to render its objects in fascinating X-rays, revealing the secrets of their composition, such as "L'Ecorché by Dr. Auzoux", a true masterpiece of the museum!

Nocturnes 2021 programme: An interactive storytelling tour inspired by the 16th century, entitled “Allons-nous juger Vésale et Paré ?” (Should we judge Vesalius and Paré?).

Musée de la médecine - © Dieter Telemans

5.     WAR HERITAGE INSTITUTE

With 18th century swords, armour, World War II tanks and fighter jets, the War Heritage Institute is a treasure trove located in Cinquantenaire Park. Centred around Belgian heritage and armed conflicts, the museum teleports you, in a playful and educational way, right into the control room of a German submarine, inside a bunker or in the turret of an American bomber. Its impressive glass and iron hall dedicated to the history of aviation is a unique venue in Brussels that will surely give you wings!

Nocturnes 2021 programme: in addition to the guides throughout the museum, the War Heritage Institute offers you the opportunity to discover the passage in the Cinquantenaire arcades and its incredible view, as well as a a trip around the world by plane... without leaving the museum!

6.     THE GUILD OF CROSSBOWMEN MUSEUM

Incredible but true: the Guild of Crossbowmen celebrated its 639th anniversary last year! Serving the City of Brussels since 1381, the Grand Serment Royal et de Saint-Georges des Arbalétriers de Bruxelles continues the practice of traditional crossbow shooting in accordance with the traditions of the old Brussels Guilds. With more than 1,500 items, this living museum displays collections relating to the life of the Guild and the history of the crossbow in a timeless setting. Follow the arrows and enjoy!

Nocturnes 2021 programme: in addition to guides, visitors will be able to watch crossbow shooting demonstrations at 6 and 10 metres.

Musée des Arbalétriers - © Hidden Raven

7.     MOMUSE - MOLENBEEK HISTORY MUSEUM

A showcase for the history and unique heritage of the commune of Molenbeek-Saint-Jean -Sint-Jans-Molenbeek, MOMUSE is a small and unique museum. Sometimes referred to as the "Belgian Manchester", Molenbeek is a small area of 6km² that has undergone many changes and has its roots in the industrialisation of the Brussels-Capital Region. In this context, MOMUSE not only offers a journey through the history of the commune but also asserts itself as a place of exchange and dialogue, meeting the men and women who live there.

Nocturnes 2021 programme: in addition to guides, a 'taste of art' workshop for children and light but extraordinary walks through the streets of Molenbeek are on offer.

8.     SEWER MUSEUM

The sewer system of a big city might not be your first choice when choosing something to visit... but when you think about it, the idea of getting lost in this underground labyrinth makes you tingle with excitement. And calling it a labyrinth is an understatement! Brussels, currently has 350km of mazing underground tunnels, which collect both rainwater and waste water. An overview of the network, explanations of its history and the work of the people who maintain it, the water cycle, etc.: these are just some of the themes that await you at the Sewer Museum!

Nocturnes 2021 programme: in addition to guides, try the "Nickel au naturel" children's workshop and "The Visit", an immersive urban safari led by two Anthropocene specialists.e.

List of special "night" activities

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