The Top 10 Things To Do And See In The European Quarter, Brussels

The bastion of the EU
The bastion of the EU | © Stephane Mignon/WikiCommons
Stephanie Benoit

To most people living in Brussels, the European Quarter is nothing more than a collection of administrative EU offices with little to see during the week and even less to do during the weekend. However, they couldn’t be further from the truth, as the European Quarter features a great selection of museums, theaters and parks as well as the best fries in Belgium.

The Main Hall of the Wiertz Museum

1. Visit the Musée Wiertz

Museum, Theater

Visit the Musée Wiertz

The Musée Wiertz is dedicated to painter, sculptor and writer Antoine Wiertz, one of the more controversial and fascinating figures of Belgian Romanticism. You can explore his spectacular, and at times troubling, works of art including Two Girls and The Beautiful Rosine, which features a girl face-to-face with a skeleton.

Opening Hours: Tue-Fri 10-12am/12.45-5pm

Address: 62 Rue Vautier, 1050 Brussels, Belgium + 32 2 648 17 18

The Brussels Aires Tango Orchestra performing at the theater | © Peter Forret/Flickr

2. Catch a show at the Théâtre Varia


Catch a show at the Théâtre Varia

Established in 1905, Théâtre Varia is one the true cultural hubs of Brussels. Hosting a variety of shows (from theater to dance and everything in between), it simultaneously pushes boundaries and respects traditions, as well as providing opportunities for new troupes and young talent.

Address: 78 Rue du Sceptre, 1050 Brussels, Belgium +32 2 640 82 58 (General)/+32 2 640 35 50 (Ticketing)

A view of the Place | © J. Logan/WikiCommons

3. Drinks at Place Luxembourg

Drinks at Place Luxembourg

If you want to do as the locals do, then go for drinks at Place Luxembourg after work on a Thursday or a Friday evening. The square gets turned from a sober EU bastion into a cheery beer garden, as all the office people let their hair down after a long week’s work.

Address: Place du Luxembourg, 1050 Brussels, Belgium

The terrifying king of the dinosaurs | © Ben2/WikiCommons

4. Wander around the Institut Royale des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique

Wander around the Institut Royale des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique

Always a great option for a rainy day (and rainy days are unfortunately quite common in Belgium), the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences is fun and informative to visit for both adults and children. Don’t miss the 30 impressive Iguanadon dinosaur skeletons, as well as the biggest mammoth skeleton ever found in Belgium.

Opening Hours: Tue-Fri 9.30am-5pm & Sat-Sun 10am-6pm

Address: 29 Rue Vautier, 1000 Brussels, Belgium +32 2 627 42 11

The bastion of the EU | © Stephane Mignon/WikiCommons

5. Admire the symbol of the European Union


Admire the symbol of the European Union

The symbol of the European Union, the Berlaymont, simply had to be included on this list. Although it cannot be visited on the inside, it is worth viewing from Place Schuman due to its iconic architecture and importance for the European Communities.

Address: 200 Rue de la Loi, 1049 Brussels, Belgium +32 2 295 24 26

View of the mosque between the trees | © Ben2/WikiCommons

6. Visit the Centre Islamique et Culturel de Belgique


Visit the Centre Islamique et Culturel de Belgique

The Centre Islamique et Culturel de Belgique is the oldest mosque in Belgium, and it is available to visit for non-muslims upon appointment. You can even take Arabic language lessons here, as it as a place of study as well as a place of prayer.

Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-4pm & Fri-Sat 9am-1pm

Address: 14 Parc du Cinquentenaire, 1000 Brussels, Belgium +32 2 735 21 73

The famous Maison Antoine | © Varech/WikiCommons

7. Eat the best fries in Belgium at Place Jourdan

Eat the best fries in Belgium at Place Jourdan

Located on the Place Jourdan, Maison Antoine is one of the most famous frietkoten of Brussels. Opened in 1948, and still run by the same family, Maison Antoine beat Frit Flagey and hundreds of others to win the coveted first place in the fritomètre contest, in which the Belgian public votes for their favorite frietkot in the country. Definitely worth a try.

Price: Budget

Opening Hours: Sun-Thu 11.30am-1am & Fri-Sat 11.30am-2am

Address: 1 Place Jourdan, 1040 Brussels, Belgium +32 2 230 54 56

The lake of Parc Leopold | © Ben2/WikiCommons

8. Go for a stroll through Parc Leopold

Go for a stroll through Parc Leopold

Located in the heart of the city, Parc Leopold is a quiet green area, which is perfect for a relaxing walk. The pond is a great spot to see some more unusual wildlife (mallards, moorhens, coots and even Egyptian geese and rose-ringed parakeets have been spotted nearby).

Address: Rue Belliard, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

Chapelle de la Résurrection

9. Visit the Chapelle de la Resurrection


Visit the Chapelle de la Resurrection

The Chapelle de la Resurrection, or Chapelle pour l’Europe, is a Roman Catholic chapel with an Ecumenical orientation, located in the heart of the European Quarter. Its Neo-Renaissance façade has been completely preserved but its interior was rebuilt by Marionex Architects. As well as hosting religious celebrations, it also organizes conferences, cultural events and exhibitions.

Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-3pm

Address: 22-24 Rue Van Maerlant, 1040 Brussels, Belgium +32 2 230 92 42

The old Solvay library | © Ben2/WikiCommons

10. Take a look at the Solvay Library

Building, Library

Take a look at the Solvay Library

Located in an absolutely beautiful building in the middle of the Parc Leopold, the Solvay Library is unfortunately not open to visitors (they do host receptions from time to time though) but it is still worth visiting, if only to admire its eclectic Art Nouveau exterior.

Address: 137 Rue Belliard, Parc Leopold, 1040 Brussels, Belgium +32 2 738 75 96

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.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,100 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article