Catch Some Culture: The Musical Instruments Museum in Brussels

There was nothing I didn’t like about this Brussels museum.

With just 24 hours to spend in the city, delving into the history of musical instruments may not seem like the obvious choice of attraction for a visit, but I was intrigued by the idea that this was something a little bit different. The truth, however, is that I had no idea I’d leave declaring it to be one of my favourite museums of all time.

Ornate MIM Exhibits

Beautiful examples of musical history in the Musical Instruments Museum

The Brussels Musical Instruments Museum (MIM) is fantastic for music lovers, particularly if you play or have ever played a musical instrument. I spent much of my childhood and teens as a violinist (only stopping when I became a stroppy fifteen year old, much to the chagrin of my parents, who I’ve since decided spoke with complete wisdom). I regret giving up, but I still love the beautiful sound of strings.  And as my husband is of the mind that all of life’s problems can be solved with a guitar, this was an ideal attraction for us both.

MIMExhibit

The sounds of the past echo through the collections.

It’s also a fabulous destination for architecture addicts. When I first clapped eyes on the building that is the museum’s home, I was in love. It was so easy to stand in awe and admire its beauty from outside, that it took me a while to actually remember I was supposed go in. Put simply, everything about the Musical Instruments Museum is gorgeous, and the entire place is a class act.

Old England Building

The beautiful Old England building – the home of the MIM

The MIM is housed in an Art-Nouveau building that dates back from 1899 and was once a department store, named Old England – I can only imagine what it would have been like to shop in such stunning surroundings. The period steel and glass construction has been beautifully renovated, so even if the museum itself doesn’t seem like your thing, you’d be a fool not to at least do a walk by. You’ll also be in a location elevated enough to afford you a great view of downtown Brussels.

If you do venture in, you won’t regret it. The museum is home to countless musical instruments, and tells the story of how they have evolved through the years. Your headset automatically plays fragments of music, bringing the various exhibits to life as you move around the collection.

Stringed Instruments at the MIM

A museum visitor listens intently to the sounds of a string exhibit.

 

Harps & Pianos at the MIM

Walking around this museum, I didn’t notice time passing at all. There was so much to immerse yourself in.

You could easily spend hours here, quite honestly lost in music. But make sure you don’t miss out on the fabulous vista from the restaurant on the top floor. Have a drink, or grab a snack and relish not just the refreshments, but the musical and architectural history of the MIM. And of course, that view.

The Top of The MIM

Lunch at the MIM restaurant, with the accompaniment of a spectacular view.

The museum is open 0930 – 1700 Tuesday – Friday, and 1000 – 1700 Saturday & Sunday.

Standard admission is 8 Euros

The restaurant hours are the same, and it’s open to non-museum visitors, too.

Check out the MIM website for further information.

We found this museum through our own guidebook scouring session – and we paid for our tickets. All thoughts are mine alone.

Have you been to the MIM? I’d love to know your thoughts. And does this seem like the kind of place you’d put on your Brussels itinerary? Do let me know in the comments!

8 Comments

  • Aryn says:

    Wow, I remember seeing this building! I didn’t know the museum was inside! Looks like a lovely experience!

  • Eric says:

    Thank you for this post! Another similar museum is the relatively new Musical Instruments Museum in Phoenix, AZ. Huge world collection, hands on (headache inducing gong and other bang-able things!) room for the kids, and immersive experience with wireless headsets that automatically synch with video and audio for whatever exhibit you are in front of…awesome!

    • Clare says:

      Thanks Eric – glad you liked the post! I’d never been to a music museum before and I really loved it. The Phoenix museum sounds absolutely brilliant too, and the kind of place that could completely engage kids which is such a good thing. Oh and I’d love to have a go on the gong!

  • Jenna says:

    Fun! I have been to Brussels but didn’t go to this museum. Next time :)

  • bevchen says:

    I’ve been there! My boyfriend and I went to Brussels for New Year and we decided to go to this museum partly because my boyfriend’s a museum but also because it was COLD and we wanted to do something indoors for a bit. I loved the museum, but it was a LOT to take in. We ended up having to rush through the last part because they were closing.

    • Clare says:

      There was so much more in there than I imagined! So glad you’ve also been. What did you think of the building itself? I thought it was completely stunning.

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