In 1875, architect Gédéon Bordiau designed the park with exhibition halls on the place where the civil guard had been training only a few years earlier. The construction of the buildings was fully finished in 1910. In the same year, Louis Leconted created his collection at Musée de l’Armée, with about nine hundred items representing Belgium’s military past for the 1910 World Exhibition. At that time, this collection was not located in the Cinquantenaire palaces. But since Leconted‘s exhibition was met with such great success, Belgium started to think about developing a permanent museum dedicated to housing Leconted’s military archive.
The collection grew very fast, especially after World War I, and finding a place to preserve the immense collection was urgent. The northern section of the two palaces in the park seemed to be a perfect place. The museum was officially opened in 1923 by King Albert I, and Louis Leconte was selected as the head curator. In 1976, the museum was established as a federal scientific institution on the second level, which is in charge of research, as well as obtaining and preserving documents and military objects.
The museum has several departments that certainly satisfy any history fan. The Air and Space department was opened in 1972, the Armoured Vehicle department eight years later and the Navy department has been open since 1996. Totaling five large exhibition galleries, the Royal Military Museum presents one of the world’s largest military collections and is a must-see stop for history buffs in the capital. Illustrating 10 centuries of military history and skills, the presentation is a fantastic look into the evolution of Belgian and foreign military groups.
📅 Opening Hours: Tues- Sun 9am – 5pm, closed Monday, January 1, May 1, November 1, December 25 and election days