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The dome of the Cinquantenaire Museum | © Ben2/Wikipedia
The dome of the Cinquantenaire Museum | © Ben2/Wikipedia

The History Of The Cinquantenaire Museum In 1 Minute

Picture of Nana Van De Poel
Updated: 15 December 2016
One of the biggest museums in all of Europe, the Cinquantenaire Museum in Brussels holds an especially absorbing appeal. Forget about losing just a day – a true history buff can spend a week marveling at the Cinquantenaire’s thousands of artifacts, gathered over hundreds of years from civilizations all across the globe.

Part of a 90 acre domaine in honor of Belgium’s fiftieth year of independence, the museum faces the stretched out lawns of the regal Cinquantenaire Park, designed at the behest of King Leopold II. Next to it stands the grand triumphal arc and next to that two other museums – AutoWorld and the Royal Military Museum – reflect the sun with their gorgeous glass finishes.

Some of the masterpieces on display at the Cinquantenaire Museum | Courtesy of Brussels Museums

Some of the masterpieces on display at the Cinquantenaire Museum | Courtesy of Brussels Museums

Beating the Guggenheim and the Tate Modern with a size of 22,000 square meters, walking around in the Cinquantenaire Museum can feel a bit like touring the world. With every step and every new gallery, another continent’s treasures are revealed. Chimu, the over 800-year-old statue that inspired Hergé to write the Tintin album The Broken Ear, made his way over from Peru. A massive statue from Easter Island lends an air of mystery, while bright wall tiles from great Iranian ruler Shah Abbas give the place some color.

Besides viewing multiple cultures’ riches you can also engage in some time travel. The museum’s permanent collection boasts millennia-old artifacts that give us clues to what civilizations that came before us believed in. Greek pottery from around 500 BC tells the tales of mythical heroes such as Hercules, while rare sarcophagi teach us about the expectations the Egyptians had for life after death. A nearly 3,000 year-old relief from the ancient city of Nimrud shows a winged genie ready to take flight. All of these examples, and more, can be found hiding in the galleries of Brussels’ world-class Cinquantenaire Museum. Don’t take our word for it: explore for yourself.

📅 Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 9:30 am-5 pm & Sat-Sun 10 am-5 pm