11 parks and gardens to admire in and around museums

As you might have (physically) experienced, Brussels is bustling. Luckily, there are a few spots, such as museums, that offer a solution to the hustle and bustle of the city noise. Read on to discover some magical arbors and hidden places where you can carelessly enjoy the sun, silence or some museum catalogue.

BELvue

It was the 18th century Neoclassical hotel that gave its name to the BELvue Museum. The appealing and ever so cosy courtyard of the former Bellevue hotel, also the terrace of the museum restaurant, recalls that glorious period of the Enlightenment effortlessly. Make sure you’re aware of the etiquette playbook as a lot of royal blood and eminent guests such as Honoré de Balzac led the way.

Beguinage of Anderlecht

The oldest beguinage of Belgium is still located in Anderlecht. The tiny chambers take you back to the Middle Ages (in a good way, promised). In summer, however, we recommend the very pleasant gardens to take a stroll in, think about life and plan out your future (not all necessarily at once and completely non-committal). Besides a collection of medicinal plants used by Desiderius Erasmus, you will find several works of thought-provoking, Erasmus approved art in the philosophical garden.

Van Buuren Museum & Gardens

This one’s pure and uncut eye candy. If you ever make it to the inside after getting lost in the harmonious garden with neatly trimmed hedges, you’ll be surprised by the lavish interior which will make you want to hug the carpets and never leave the mansion in Dutch Art Deco style. The nearby Bois de la Cambre offers a great walk to dwell on that elusive splendour afterwards.

Sculpture Garden (UCL)

In the Sculpture Garden of the French speaking university UCL we’re invited to take a stroll on the green lawns, dotted with modern sculptures of various origin. The images guarantee an animated walk or play the role of extras during your lazy afternoon in the sun.

Botanique

As Botanique is surrounded by grey skyscrapers you’ll enter a rare oasis in the cool, sleek business district of Brussels. Long before the high-rise buildings dominated this district, none other than Victor Hugo called the view from the former botanical garden on the city a true world wonder. With an ever exciting line-up, the great green garden and marvellous glass building, it still has plenty to offer. During winter, while the garden’s covered in pristine white, time definitely winds slightly slower here.

Red Cloister Abbey Art Centre

As one of the entrance gates to the Sonian Forest, the Red Cloister Abbey Art Centre is difficult to surpass. Located in an old priory the monastery-turned-art-centre gives as a first impression that time has stopped since the 18th century, until you enter the building! While it was once renowned as a haven for artists from all over, nowadays it’s open for all of us, creative or not.

Cover picture © Damien Defraene

La Fonderie

In its large courtyard La Fonderie connects two worlds: while the old machines bear witness to the industrial past of the area, the yard itself is an explicit invitation to take a rest in the ever bustling Molenbeek, once known as the “Manchester of Belgium”.

Brussels Museum of the Mill and Food

The name of this museum - dedicated to what gets us through the day: food - is what you call self explanatory. What could we add? Well, the old windmill comes in a package deal with a lush green garden that is guaranteed to redefine one’s idea of picturesque.

Brussels Tram Museum

This museum dedicated to Brussels' public transport, hosts one of the world’s most extensive tram collections, ranging from trams towed by strong Belgian draft horses to motorized versions. From April to September there’s a historical tram leaving every Sunday at 10 in the morning that takes travellers on a 4 hour journey along nearly every major historical monument of Brussels. Hop on and enjoy the ride!

House of European History

This museum dedicated to the history of Europe is located right in the magnificent Leopold Park!

MOT

The Museum of Old Techniques is defined by its unique location in the woods of Grimbergen. With the Liermolen and Tommenmolen, 2 restored watermills, and Guldendal, the former stables, coach house and staff building of the Grimbergen Castle, the charming domain breathes history. Add the attractive environment to the many courses introducing ancient crafts and good old-fashioned activities and the journey to a romantic past is ready for take-off.