25 Weird, Wacky, and Offbeat Museums in Brussels, Belgium

The Spontaneous Art Museum. The Museum of Fantastic Art. The Art Deco Clock Museum. The Sewers Museum. 25 wonderfully weird museums in Brussels!

The Sewer Museum. The Museum of Fantastic Art. The Spontaneous Art Museum. The Art Deco Clock Museum. Brussels, Belgium is home to many weird and wonderful museums. Don't travel to Brussels, Belgium without visiting a few of them!The Sewer Museum. The Museum of Fantastic Art. The Spontaneous Art Museum. The Art Deco Clock Museum. Brussels, Belgium is home to many weird and wonderful museums. Don't travel to Brussels, Belgium without visiting a few of them!

Brussels, Belgium is a fantastic starting point for any trip to Belgium: home to the most beautiful central plaza in all of Europe, the best beer & chocolate& waffles & fries & Speculoos cookies in the world, a tiny statue of a boy peeing, the capital of the European Union, the creation of Art Noveau, and about a zillion museums (108, to be exact). Brussels is kind of an overachiever, don’t you think? It’s like the city version of Hermione Granger. We were super stoked to find out about all of the museums in Brussels, because when we arrive in a new city – bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to go explore – one of the first things we do is hit the museum scene. Yes, we’re big nerds. But museums are such a fantastic way to learn about a new place and its culture, art, and history! We figured that with 108 museums, the possibilities for learning were just endless. But we quickly realized that Brussels’ museums aren’t your typical nerdfest.

    True to form, overachieving Brussels – with its rich history, quirky sense of humor, delicious food and drink and stunning European architecture – is also home to a bunch of really weird, quirky, totally offbeat museums. In Brussels, museums aren’t just places to learn about art and culture and history. Museums in Brussels can also be places to drink beer, eat chocolate, get sort of creeped out, wander through the sewers, have your mind blown, explore conspiracy theories, and see a lot of dicks. (Don’t worry. They’re art dicks. So it’s educational.) Sit back, relax, and let us take you on a journey through the best museums in Brussels – both conventional and totally weird.

The stunning Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium, the most beautiful plaza in Europe! Note the multiple styles of architecture - Gothic in the left, gold studded baroque in the center. The Grand Place is home to several different styles of architecture.
The stunning Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium, the most beautiful plaza in Europe! Note the multiple styles of architecture – Gothic in the left, gold studded baroque in the center. The Grand Place is home to several different styles of architecture. And quite a few museums.

How to see Museums in Brussels on a Budget

The problem with visiting a lot of museums is that it can get kind of pricey. Knowledge is expensive, y’all.  The solution? The Brussels Card. The Brussels Card is like a free pass to a bunch of the best museums in Brussels, as well as discounts at shops, restaurants, and attractions. For budget travelers like us, it’s a fantastic way to save money! We definitely recommend picking up a Brussels Card if you’re planning to see multiple museums in Brussels.

     The Brussels Card has a ton to offer for all types of traveler. Want to check out some sassy surrealist art? Dying to dress up a peeing statue in cute little outfits? Or maybe you just want to do your best Jeff Goldblum impression while looking at dinosaurs? Well…”The Brussels Card…finds a way.”  We highly recommend picking one up if you’re going to be visiting more than a couple of museums in Brussels. Plus, along with our Brussels Cards we also recieved a handy little map with every single one of the 108 museums on it! 

The Brussels Stock Exchange lit up at night during Christmastime in Brussels, Belgium.
This is the Brussels Stock Exchange. It isn’t a museum, but it totally looks like one.

The Best (Conventional) Museums in Brussels

    It wouldn’t be fair to make a list of the museums in Brussels without including the ones that aren’t weird at all, but are still super great museums. So here’s a list of some of the best attractions and museums in Brussels about the usual sorts of things. These are the museums in Brussels you can visit with your parents, your kids, and that friend who gets queasy easily.

  • The Mannekin Pis Garderobe: The famous Mannekin Pis, Brussels’ ridiculous city symbol, is eponymous with the city’s fantastic sense of humor. The fabulous statue is regularly dressed up in adorable little costumes – complete with a perfectly placed hole in the front – and has amassed an enormous wardrobe of all of his cute little outfits. This museum is like his very own massive closet (and of course, you can play dress-up with him, too).
    • Cost: FREE with a Brussels Card (included with entry to the Museum of Brussels). Garderobe Website
  • Museum of the City of Brussels: Learn all about the history of Brussels, and see the original Mannekin Pis statue in all of its tiny glory. They keep the real version here because people keep trying to kidnap it, Carmen Sandiego style.
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  • Musée Fin-de-Siècle Museum: A wonderful art museum dedicated to turn of the century early 1990’s art… with a Belgian twist. Brussels was the turn of the century capital of Art Noveau, which was terribly avant-garde at the time. So the art is much more irreverant than your typical snoozefest Rennaissance museum. There’s also a really rad elevator with a couch in it.
  • Belgian Comic Strip Center: Good-humored Belgium is world famous for its comics, such as the Smurfs, which you probably thought were an American invention, didn’t you? (Don’t worry, we totally did too.)
Mini Europe and the Atomium in Brussels, Belgium.
Mini Brussels at Mini Europe in real Brussels, made of tiny atoms but in front of a giant atom. It’s like Brussels-ception! Photo Credit: “Mini-Europe @ Brussels” (CC BY 2.0) by *_*
  • The Atomium: Originally constructed for the 1958 World’s Fair, this massive model of an iron crystal (ironically made out of aluminum) magnified 165 billion times is something to behold. You can go up in the balls (hehe) for a great view, and there’s a cool art & design museum too. 
  • Mini Europe: Directly next to the Atomium, you’ll find perfect miniatures of European sights. Wanna know what’s overrated? Going to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower. Wanna know what’s awesome? Feeling like a giant as you stand next to mini The Leaning Tower, which is about your height.
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  • Museum of Costume & Lace: Fascinating museum about fashion history (such as an exhibit about the history of wedding dresses) and lace making, which is a historical Belgian craft.  If you love beautiful old dresses and fashion (me!) this is a must visit.
  • Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History: This enormous, beautiful museum contains a staggering collection of arms and armor, a detailed explanation of the history of Belgium’s militia over 10 centuries of warfare (with its many conquerings and upheavals) and even an airplane hanger. Yes, with actual airplanes. Inside the museum. If you’re a history or military fan, this is your spot.
Swords and armour on display at the Royal Military Museum in Brussels, Belgium.
Swords and armour on display at the Royal Military Museum in Brussels, Belgium. Photo Credit: “Armour and swords” (CC BY 2.0) by quinet
  • Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences: The Brussels Natural History Museum, AKA Dinosaurs.
  • Bibliotheca Wittockiana (Museum of Book Bindings and Book Arts): The museum for nerdy book lovers. If you get that warm fuzzy feeling when you smell a book and shed a tiny tear when watching the library scene in Beauty and the Beast, this museum is for you.
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  • Musical Instrument Museum (MIM): A huge collection of musical instruments from throughout history, like lutes with 84 strings and jazz harpsichords or whatever.
  • Museum of Original Figurines (MOOF): Adorable tiny little figurines of all of your favorite characters, like the Smurfs, in adorable tiny little settings.

Pierre Marcolini Chocolatier in Brussels, Belgium during Christmas season.
This is actually the world famous Pierre Marcolini chocolate shop, sooo NOT a museum. But the mustache moved!!

Weird Museums in Brussels

   On a quest to prove that museums can be about anything, Brussels is home to a number of weird, quirky, unusual museums. These offbeat museums seem to pop up and shut down with frequency (it is with deepest sorrow that we must regretfully inform you that the Museum of Underwear and the Museum of Cats have both closed as of this posting). Luckily, there are still plenty weird museums in Brussels left in their wake. Here’s a list of our favorite unique, weird, and offbeat museums in Brussels. If you thought museums were boring and learning stuff was lame, think again. 

  • Museum of Fantastic Art: As if the title isn’t enticing enough, one description says “fantastical, bizarre and weird creations, sculptures and pictures” and elsewhere, “fantastic history of the biosynthesis works of professor D.” Who’s professor D? What’s biosynthesis? Does it matter??!! We’re in.
  • Magritte Museum: Sassy surrealist pop art from the cheeky man who painted a picture of a pipe and wrote “this is not a pipe” underneath it. Yes, the really famous one. Sarcastic artists are the best. Plus, now you can un-ironically own that t-shirt from Urban Outfitters and educate all of your less-cultured friends when they ask you about it, you snobby art douche.
  • Belgian Museum of Freemasonry: Because we may have quietly developed a theory that Brussels & the whole of Europe are actually being run by the Illuminati, #staywoke
    • Cost: FREE with the Brussels Card, but your eyes will be opened forever. More Information
  • Museum of the Black Sisters: Not at all related to the African Diaspora, but in fact about nuns and the black plague, which is rad. Mysteriously, it’s only open for 2 hours a week, on Wednesdays.
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  • Spontaneous Art Museum: We were hoping that this was a museum full of people spontaneously bursting into fits of song and dance and painting and such. It’s not, but it’s just as interesting. The cheeky description on the Brussels Museum website describes it as a “bewildering journey through non-conventional art forms” and then says a bunch of other sassy stuff about how weird it is. Yes. Sold.  
    • Cost: Somewhere between €1 and €2, plus abandoning all of your “aesthetic preconceptions.” Sassy description here
Comic book style street art in Brussels, Belgium
Fantastic comic book style art can be found throughout Brussels, around corners and tucked behind buildings. Photo Credit: “Brussels 41” (CC BY 2.0) by @ravi
  • Clockarium: A whole museum just for art deco clocks!!?!?!?!? Is this real life?! You can only tour this masterpiece on Sundays at 3:05 pm sharp. Also, the tour is in French. Who cares? Worth it.
    • Cost: €6, and the burning desire to stock your home with art deco clocks. Clockarium Website
  • Sewers Museum: Exactly what it sounds like. Don’t worry, we hear this museum isn’t shitty. GET IT?!?!?!?!
  • Art & Marges Museum: Outsider art from artists “outside of the mainstream,” such as differently-abled and mentally challenged artists. Prepare to have all of your assumptions about artists destroyed.
    • Cost: FREE with the Brussels Card, and you’ll have to check your privalege at the door. More information
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  • International Puppet Museum: Puppets are an important part of the history of Brussels, thanks to some insecure king years ago who made plays illegal because they were making fun of him, but agreed to let puppet theatres exist “for the children.” The puppet theatres made fun of him too, but secretly. Also, how creepy must this museum be for the poor janitor who has to clean it late at night?
  • Museum of Erotics and Mythology of Brussels: Aka the Museum of Sexy Sex. Prepare to be culturally titillated and see a LOT of dicks. Historical dicks, maybe even educational dicks, but still … dicks. This goes without saying, but expect mature content. (And dicks.)
Wonderfully weird street art in Brussels, Belgium. "Ce n’est pas une maison" (CC BY 2.0) by Gastev
Wonderfully weird street art in Brussels, Belgium. Original Photo: “Ce n’est pas une maison” (CC BY 2.0) by Gastev
  • Museums of the Far East: King Leopold II, who was a complete asshole, had an Asian fetish, so he built a quasi-racist Asian-inspired pavilion (it’s totally unauthentic and a poor representation of an entire continent, but it IS a gorgeous building) and a stunning Japanese garden with some of the billions he made exploiting and mass-murdering African natives in the Congo. While you’re strolling through Belgian Hitler’s palacial estate, think of the blood that was spilled to create it. (Note: there’s a LOT of controversy surrounding Belgium’s bloody history in the Congo. Royal Museum for Central Africa, which has its own shady and racist past to overcome, is currently under renovation, ostensibly to take a good hard look at itself.)
  • Toy Museum: According to the Brussels Museum website’s descriptions, the Toy Museum is basically a giant attic filled with old toys that you can run around and play with to your heart’s content and there are no guards and everyone gets to be a kid again. So like, heaven.
  • Choco Story (Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate): Choco-Story is a cute little chocolate museum with a ton of free samples. You can even learn how to make pralines from an excellent demonstration (yes, you get to eat the pralines). There’s also a chocolate fountain. With Speculoos. Confession: We each ate like 36  and may have elbowed a kid out of the way to get more. #noshame
    • Cost: FREE with the Brussels Card, and like 10 pounds of chocolate weight. Choco-Story Website

What’s your favorite weird and wacky museum in Brussels? Tell us below in the comments!

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The Sewer Museum. The Museum of Fantastic Art. The Spontaneous Art Museum. The Art Deco Clock Museum. Brussels, Belgium is home to many weird and wonderful museums. Don't travel to Brussels, Belgium without visiting a few of them!   The Sewer Museum. The Museum of Fantastic Art. The Spontaneous Art Museum. The Art Deco Clock Museum. Brussels, Belgium is home to many weird and wonderful museums. Don't travel to Brussels, Belgium without visiting a few of them!

Disclaimer: We were gifted Brussels Cards by Visit Brussels. All opinions, snide remarks about various museums, and mention of dicks are purely our own and absolutely not their fault.

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Hey, I'm Lia! I'm a Kentucky native living in San Francisco. I'm extremely practical and also entirely addicted to travel, which I'm forever trying to reconcile. If I had a patronus, it would a spreadsheet. Or a llama. Possibly a llama creating a spreadsheet. I'm married to Jeremy and I'm obsessed with him and it's super gross, unless you're us, in which case it's the best.

12 Comment

  1. I have been so many times to Brussels and didn’t know about half of the museums you mentioned. Noted down some of them for my next visit 🙂

    1. Lia says: Reply

      Now you know! We didn’t know about most of these during our trip either, so now we obviously have to go back too 😛

  2. I was in Brussels recently and didn’t get to check out all these… might be reason to go back then!

    1. Lia says: Reply

      Honestly, same here! While we were researching for the article we were kicking ourselves for not doing the research BEFORE our trip. Brussels apparently keeps its weirdness on the DL!

  3. Who knew Brussels had that many (weird) museums?! We didn’t even know and we’re Belgian. 😀 In our defence, we’re from Hasselt. 😉 I suppose you didn’t visit them all? Which ones were your favourites? We’ve never even been to Mini Europe, and I’m dying to go there, ever since we’ve been Legoland in Orlando. Shame on us. 😉

    1. Lia says: Reply

      Unfortunately we also didn’t realize how many rad museums there were until it was too late! We visited a few, but they certainly weren’t the most interesting ones on this list. Choco-story was great because we got to stuff ourselves with chocolate, and the Magritte Museum is fantastic too. But we’ll definitely need to make a trip back to catch the rest of these!

  4. Whaaat, this is so amazing! I´m dying to see all those dicks! And the Black Sisters plague trouble too. Not sure I´d be able to visit all of these, but I definitely didn´t know Brussels was so cool, I always thought it´s this boring bureaucratic city! Great article.

    1. Lia says: Reply

      Brussels is surprisingly hilarious and full of fun little quirks! From puppet theatres stuffed into alleyways to their ridiculous pee statue, they’ve fully embraced their inner weird.

  5. kad8585 says: Reply

    This looks amazing. I really want to go to Brussels now and vsiit all these super awesome museum. I love that they dress up that statue. Hillarious. This just seems like such a quirky place that is right up my ally. Thank you!!!

    1. Lia says: Reply

      It’s totally quirky and funny! We were really surprised but fell in love with the fantastic sense of humor and culture.

  6. I always enjoy weird museums! I would love to see some of these haha. In Slovenia I went to a beekeeping museum and a gingerbread museum. In Germany when I went with my high school class we went to a torute museum, too.

    1. Lia says: Reply

      What is a torute museum?? Those museums sound lovely. But were there free samples of honey and gingerbread? Because otherwise I would be so disappointed, hehe.

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