These quirky and unusual museums hidden around Brussels tell stories you won’t find in the halls of Bozar or BELvue. From collections of underpants worn by celebrities to comic book figurines and the history of the city’s sewers, take the opportunity to learn something new by visiting one of these weird and wonderful destinations.
If you want to journey back in time, you should pay a visit to the Clockarium, a museum filled with Art Deco ceramic clocks. During the 1920s and 30s, the Art Deco faïence clock was all the rage and proudly decorated every common home in Belgium and Northern France. The museum pays tribute to this time period by displaying more than a thousand clocks of various shapes, styles and decorations in its Art Deco building. You can even combine it with teatime for an extra €10.
A museum filled with wonder … but not for the faint of heart. Here you find crazy, scary and simply strange artwork, from the biography of the Elephant Man to works such as ‘Les Momies de Mato Grosso.’ The extensive permanent collection gives you a chance to get to know artists working in fantasy, while the temporary exhibitions offer a fresh look at the surreal and weird. Don’t miss the Halloween Festival during All Saints week when the Museum of Fantastic Art goes all out.
Hours: Sat-Sun 2-5 p.m. (May-September)
Price: 6€ (Free on the first Sunday of every month)
The MOOF museum is all about the ninth art in 3D. There’s something for the amateur as well as the avid comic book fan to be found here. Entire rooms are dedicated to Japanese manga, American comics and Flemish comic book culture. Moreover, you can learn something more about the development stages of creating a comic. So instead of visiting the famous Comics Art Museum, give this a try instead.
The Street Light Museum takes a look at the history of urban lighting. It highlights the design and the technical and artistic innovations which marked Brussels’s history by focusing on 20 original street lamps. This is an open-air museum, so you can visit day and night free of charge.
Founded by the filmmaker of The Sexual Life of the Belgians, Jan Bucuoy’s Underwear Museum is perhaps the quirkiest museum on the list. Following the philosophy that all men are equal, Bucuoy gathered underwear worn by Belgian celebrities from the Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders to Brussels mayor Yvan Mayeur and put it on display in De Dolle Mol café. Those interested in paying a visit to the museum can now view these famous undergarments at Chez Claude.
There are two fencing museums in the world, located in France and Belgium. However, the Brussels Fencing Museum is the only museum devoted to fencing as an Olympic discipline. It displays a large collection of medals, weapons and equipment. If you’re a fan of fencing, this museum is a must-visit.
Containing almost 4,000 puppets from around the world, the International Puppet Museum is great to visit in combination with a puppet show at the Théâtre Royal du Peruchet next door. Some of the puppets are more than 200 years old, and they range from theatrical traditions as diverse as the Commedia dell’Arte to the Shadow Theater of the Orient.
Price: Free in combination with a puppet show (9€)
If you’ve ever felt curious about the Belgian police force, this museum will satisfy your questions on anything from uniforms to the history of the various brigades from the end of the 18th century onward.
Hours: On appointment only, from Mon-Fri 9-12am/1-4:30pm
Definitely off the beaten track, the Sewers Museum leads visitors through a stretch of the actual sewage network of Brussels, explaining the history of the sewage system and the vital tasks performed by the people who work in sewage that keep the city up and running.
This extensive private collection of erotic art takes the visitor from the Ancient Greeks to the modern age, showcasing sculptures, paintings and other curiosities from all over the world. You’ll discover everything you ever wanted to know about sexuality and sensuality across the ages at the Museum of Erotics and Mythology.