Museum of Brussels City
First thing to consider when visiting Brussels museums is the Brussels Card. It will most likely save you time and money.
The Museum of Brussels City (Musée de la Ville de Bruxelles or Museum van de Stad Brussel) was built inside the Maison du Roi, the King’s House or Broodhuis, the Bread house as named by the Dutch speakers. It is a history museum that unlocks the secrets of the city to all guests. The museum is prominently places at the Grand Place, directly opposite the Town Hall in a neo-Gothic greyish building.
Upon entering the museum, which only costs €3, and turning left you will begin with the history of the Grand Place, especially the building in which you are standing in. It was built between the 13th and 15th centuries and renovated many times over the last 500 years. Sculptures that used to adorn the façade are placed here to show the detail of the craftsmanship. A detailed history is also provided on the plaques and large white cards with English, German and other languages are available from the side of the walls. After shifting around on the first floor and viewing the Brussels earthware, porcelain, pewter and tapestries, which were booming industries in the middle ages, you will move up to the first floor where the story of the city begins.
The first floor houses maps and 3D model recreations of the city as it evolved over the middle ages. The most intricate and fascinating model is one of the 13th century Brussels. The artist was able to depict a small town, recently fortified into a pentagon shape. The descriptions of each landmark include modern day references to streets that still exist today. The Grand Place was a small patch of dirt at the time and the Seine River still flowed like a trickle through the town.
On the 2nd and top-most floor you will be greeted with the current-day glory of Brussels City, its “Oldest Citizen” as some nicknamed the Mannekin Pis or Peeing Boy. A short video with English subtitles plays on the landing before you enter the room with the costumes. This video will tell you the history of the Peeing Boy along with some odd comments from tourists recorded for fun. After the video, find your way into the Mannekin Pis’ dressing room, which only displays 100 of its 700 costumes!
This museum will leave you with the message that Brussels City is a “free, amusing and carnivalesque” city and the Mannekin Pis is a perfect symbol of that freedom.
Tuesday – Sunday from 10am to 5pm.
Location in Brussels
Probably the easiest to locate history museum in Brussels, it stands opposite the Town Hall, which is the gleaming cream-coloured building that almost eclipses the King’s House. The Museum of Brussels City is located within the smaller, neo-Gothic grey building. Metro stops: Centrale or De Broukere, Bourse (pre-metro)
The Museum of Brussels City
Maison du Roi