The Bellevue Hotel has an intriguing history itself; built in the 18th century, it received important guests such as Sarah Bernhardt, Honoré de Balzac, Franz Liszt, Ulysses S. Grant, King Edward VII, the German emperor William I, and the last French empress, Eugénie de Montijo. In 1977, the Hôtel became a public museum of Belgian history.
One of the most significant features of the museum is that it’s built on top of the ruins of the Coudenberg Castle. This 12th-century castle has seen some major events in the history of Brussels and housed important historical figures, such as Emperor Charles V, as well as great artists like Bruegel and Rubens. It burned down in the 18th century, but some parts are preserved underground. While the remains of the castle are actually under the nearby Place Royal, you can only enter them through the BELvue Museum.
The various showrooms exhibit Belgian history from 1830 – the independence – to date. While you can dive further back into history by visiting the ruins of the Coudenberg Castle, the showrooms take you on a tour through the events that shaped Belgium.
While the permanent collection is closed now, in July it will reopen with a drastically changed and highly entertaining exhibition; instead of just giving the facts chronologically, it will present history with modern issues in mind. The whole exhibition will also be more interactive, providing a more personal look into the past.
📅 Tuesday-Friday 9:30am-5pm, Saturday-Sunday10am-6pm, Open on Mondays from 9:30am-5pm for groups on reservation