Horta Museum picture
François BERNARDIN/Wikimedia Commons

Key Info

25, rue Americaine

Details

Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.1scorecard
  • 4.0Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

Art lovers should not pass up the chance to see where Victor Horta — the father of the Art Nouveau movement — lived and worked. Inspired by 20th century changes to the way art was being created, Horta developed an entirely new architectural scheme, using metals like iron and steel to create fluid structures and reveal structural elements that had never been seen or used before. Horta's home (now a museum) is a perfect example. As you walk through, keep your eyes open for Horta's influences, from the wing-like skylights to the winding banisters to the overhead lights stemming down from the ceiling like vines. Bring along a dictionary; much of the information provided is in French, although guided tours in English are available by request. You can't take pictures inside, but you can buy books and posters in the museum's shop.

You can visit the Horta Museum, located in the Ixelles district, Tuesday through Sunday from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Admission is about €8 EUR for adults. For more information, check out the museum's website.

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Manneken Pis1 of 11
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#1 Manneken Pis

This little boy has put Brussels on the tourist map; people travel to this city from all over the world just to catch a glimpse of him urinating. The legend behind the Manneken Pis (which translates to little peeing man in Dutch) varies widely depending on who you ask. One popular story is of a little boy relieving himself on a witch's doorstep. Catching the boy in the act, the witch wished to punish him by turning him into stone, forcing him into that compromising position for eternity. A local, who witnessed the entire incident, ran to the boy and replaced him with a statue in the nick of time, making the boy miss the curse entirely. Another very popular story is that of a little boy stopping Brussels from meeting its demise. Enemy forces, intent on destroying Brussels, lit a small fire with the hopes it would spread and burn the city to the ground. A wandering little boy, who apparently really needed to go to the bathroom, saw the fire and put it out with his natural resources, thus saving the city. 

While the statue itself is of a child in the nude, he has been the recipient of about 800 different costumes, a tradition that began when Maximilian II Emanuel gave him a soldier's uniform in 1698. Since then Manneken Pis has been many things, including Santa and Elvis. Those interested in learning more about Manneken Pis should take a trip to the Museum of the City of Brussels, where more than 100 of his outfits are on display. The museum also has a digital archive of every single outfit that Manneken Pis has worn for visitors to view.

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