Royal Museum of the Army and Military History

#6 in Best Things To Do in Brussels
Royal Museum of the Army and Military History picture
Royal Museum of the Army and Military History

Key Info

Jubelpark 3

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Museums, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.0scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

For those of you interested in military history, this museum makes for a great afternoon. Located in the Cinquantenaire district, the Royal Museum of the Army and Military History (Musée Royal de l'Armée et d' Histoire Militaire) traces the world's violent past back to the Middle Ages, displaying weaponry, uniforms, documents and technology from various points in time. You should spend a fair amount of time in the airplane hangar, which features 80 different aircraft. The museum also hosts educational activities for all ages, making it a great place for children and adults to explore.

Recent travelers said they were impressed by the extensive collection of military memorabilia present at the museum. Many enjoyed being able to get up close and personal with the aircraft featured in the aviation area. One complaint travelers had was that there were little placards in English.

The museum is free and is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, check out the Royal Museum of the Army and Military History website.

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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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