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6 suggestions for your May Nocturnes

Mathilde Oechsner

Until 18 May, the Nocturnes offer you an exceptional programme for your Thursday evenings. Between 5pm and 10pm, Brussels’ museums will give you access to exhibitions, collections, storage areas and many other activities. Discover the full programme here.

The next three Thursdays will be an opportunity to make unique and varied discoveries. Here are six proposals that invite you to get a new perspective.

Travelling into the past

Many museums bear witness to an era or tell the story of a significant event in history. The Nocturnes are the ideal opportunity to travel into the past. A visit to the Horta Museum, the Cauchie House or the Hotel van Eetvelde will plunge you into the daily life of the art nouveau bourgeoisie of the early 20th century. In the Clockarium, the huge collection of earthenware clocks will transport you to another time, literally and figuratively! The exhibition Secret Agent in the Resistance 1940-1945 of the Fraternelle des Agents Parachutistes will make you discover the missions, training and destinies of these young Belgians during the Second World War. The Museum of Art and History will take you back to the very origin of the formation of its collections, during the expeditions in Egypt. A real dive into history!

Thinking and creating our future together

Knowing our past is good, but building our future is even better! This year’s International Museum Day is all about sustainability. On 18 May, several museums will shed a different light on this theme and invite you to take action. First, at the House of European History, where you can try your hand at upcycling after visiting the exhibition Throwaway. A great way to combine theory and practice. BELexpo invites you to think together about the sustainable city of the future, in an interactive, fun and above all positive way. The moderators will be happy to challenge you as a family and inspire you to take action.

Gear up and even further

Do you like thrills? Autoworld will make you experience the 24 hours of Le Mans as if you were there, thanks to the immersive setting of its exhibition. To celebrate another anniversary in automotive history, go to the D’Ietereen Gallery, which is dedicating an exhibition to Volkswagen in Belgium. The brand that democratised the car and allowed many families to travel faster and further has been around in Belgium for 75 years. 

Fans of time trials will love the Luminopolis exhibition at the Museum of Natural Sciences. You have one hour to complete the challenges in teams and discover everything about the connections between light and the living. 3, 2, 1…go!

The last destination in this frantic race is the universe… At the Brussels Planetarium, you can fly over Mars, get close to the rings of Saturn, and ask all your questions to an astronomer from the Royal Observatory of Belgium.

Learning about craft techniques

The Nocturnes are also an opportunity to slow down, to take the time to learn about techniques and discover artistic practices. Many museums offer activities related to arts and crafts, here are a few: on 4 May at the Belgian Chocolate Village, you will discover the art and the way to make - and taste - chocolate. On 11 May you can learn about vegetable dyeing at the Jean Massart Botanical Garden or discover the secrets of ceramics during your visit to the Anderlecht Academy, a stone’s throw from the House of Erasmus and the Beguinage. And finally, on 18 May, you can make and bake an apple pie in the farm’s oven or take a basket-making workshop at the FelixArt museum.

Discovering the backstage

During the Nocturnes, behind the scenes activities are very popular. Many of you enjoy tours of the storage rooms, want to get behind the scenes of exhibitions, or meet the people who work in the museums. At the Design Museum, you will have the opportunity to have a bit of all this at the same time, during a visit of the reserves in the company of a member of the team or by exchanging with students on their scenographic proposals. The Army and Military History Museum is opening its workshops where you will discover the team and their daily work within this institution. Enjoy the opportunity to share with them!

Let yourself be carried away

Would you rather feel emotions than listen to grand speeches? Then go to the Basilica of Koekelberg! In addition to its exceptional architecture, you will discover two museums: the Museum of the Black Sisters of Brussels and the Museum of Modern Religious Art. Enough to feed your thirst for art and spirituality. At the House of Erasmus and the Beguinage, the duo Les Ballets confidentiels will present a sung and danced dialogue with the museum and its gardens. This performance questions the influence of our own vibrations on nature, art and words. Letting yourself be carried away by the artists and the works of art is a great proposal for your Thursday evening, isn’t it?

Some practical information to round off:

  • You can find the complete programme on
  • You can buy your ticket (or a Nocturnes Pass) online on the website, or on the evening of your visit at the ticket office of the museum. Also check which museums accept the museumPASSmusées, the Art Nouveau Pass, Article 27 tickets or the Paspartoe.
  • Some Nocturnes are free! In May, this is the case for the D’Ietereen Gallery, the Jean Massart Garden, the Fraternelle des Agents Parachutistes and the House of European History.

We wish you a wonderful evening in our Brussels museums!