50 Years After Magritte: A Special Surrealist Trail Throughout Brussels

Magritte meets Atomium
Magritte meets Atomium | © atomium.be - SABAM 2017 - C.H.:ADAGP Paris & A. Addington
Nana Van De Poel

For a man who didn’t like to talk about the meaning behind his art (‘The mind loves the unknown,’ he remarked), René Magritte and his motifs, from the green apple to the pipe that isn’t a pipe, are everywhere in Brussels these days. 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the revered surrealist’s death, and the Belgian capital is seizing the opportunity to pay homage to its greatest painter hero with a flurry of special exhibits.

Loved by over 40s

Atomium meets Surrealism

Atomium meets Surrealism

If Belgium’s beguiling Atomium with its nine balls of steel and oft-missed structural reference to an iron crystal isn’t a worthy place of honouring the country’s premier surrealist, we don’t know what is. On the occasion’s of both the anniversary of Magritte’s death and the Atomium’s 60th birthday, the two Belgian icons will join forces for a year-long interactive exhibit.

Two spheres of the landmark have been entirely given over to 3-D representations of the artist’s work. While the true connoisseur won’t find anything new, kids and adults new to Magritte’s oeuvre can expect a smashing introduction to the painter’s signature motifs and themes in the form of interactive displays.

Until September 10, 2018

Atomium, Square de l’Atomium, 1020 Brussels

Magritte meets Atomium | © atomium.be - SABAM 2017 - C.H.:ADAGP Paris & A. Addington

Magritte meets Atomium | © atomium.be – SABAM 2017 – C.H.:ADAGP Paris & A. Addington

The many faces of Magritte

For much of his life, Magritte couldn’t be considered well off. In fact, he produced the biggest part of his oeuvre in the kitchen of his Jette home, while his wife Georgette did the dishes or played the piano. Now a home museum that shines a spotlight on Magritte ‘the man’, his personal life, his influences and the lesser-known periods of his artistry, the establishment has set up an open-air travelling exhibit in the parks of neighbourhoods the Bruxellois liked to frequent.

The museum series, called Signs of Life, is not of his works but, somewhat ironically, consists of 21 photographic portraits of the man who mostly refused to paint faces.

Offering yet another perspective on the artist is The Lost Magrittes exhibit, which boasts 27 never before seen works from the master’s hand. Signalling Margritte’s interests outside of Surrealism, these pieces tackle new themes and unexpected styles with signature quality. An Atomium ticket will get you a 2 euro discount to the Magritte home museum and vice versa.

Travelling exhibit:

Jette (VUB Campus) in front of building A, from October 10 to October 24, 2017

Schaerbeek (Avenue L. Bertrand), from October 26 to November 19, 2017

Jette (Parc Garcet), from November 11 to December 19, 2017

Home museum: Rue Esseghem 135, 1090 Jette

Magritte’s old Jette home, now a museum

Magritte and Lecomte, partners in crime


Magritte paints La Clairvoyance, a self-portrait of the artist painting
© cea + / Flickr
Though frequently lifted above the crowd as a shining example of the Surrealist painter, Magritte can’t be seen removed from the context of his dedicated circle of artist and intellectual friends. The Brussels Surrealist clique, to which his Jette home had become a weekly gathering place, provided inspirational fuel in the form of suggested titles for his work and introductions to painters like Giorgio de Chirico, who would dramatically overturn Magritte’s conception of painting. It was essayist and poet Marcel Lecomte who revealed de Chirico to Magritte, and the relationship between the two friends is explored in a new exhibit at the large Magritte Museum on the Place Royal. Letters sent between the two and reflections on Magritte in unpublished writings by Lecomte provide a perspective on the iconic artist through the eyes of one of his fiercest compatriots. The museum is open on Mondays for the duration of the exhibit, making it possible to delve into Magritte’s world.

Until February 18, 2018

The greats he inspired


With over 200 original Magritte works, the largest Magritte collection in the world has also organised a second, larger expo that connects the dots between the Surrealist and the contemporary champions Magritte’s influenced. Works by Marcel Broodthaers, Gavin Turk, Keith Haring, Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol have been shipped to Brussels and set up alongside the Surrealist’s images for the occasion.

Until February 18, 2018

His surviving Brussels haunts

For those who wish to sidestep the museum path, the City of Brussels has also captured the late Magritte’s favourite hangouts in the special pamphlet Be Magritte, Be Brussels (available from the tourism office). We’re talking longtime bohemian bar La Fleur en Papier Doré, Belle Époque chess tavern Le Greenwich and multiple guided walks that reveal the city’s Surrealist tendencies.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.