BRUSSELS, BELGIUM. This museum is a unique treasure for people who love music. The museum features a collection of world instruments and their history. Instruments from the 1600s are on display, as are rare, sophisticated instruments that look more like art pieces than anything else.
The museum was created in 1877 when Rajah Sourindro Mohun Tagore gave Indian instruments to King Leopold II of Beligum and when the Belgium government bought the collection of Francois-Joseph Fétis. The museum now has 8,000 instruments on display. It is located in a former Old England department store which was built in 1899 in the Art Nouvaeu style (the museum moved here in 2000).
The museum spans seven floors. In the basement is a collection of mechanical instruments. On the first floor is the collection of traditional instruments. Orchestral instruments, keyboard, and string instruments follow on subsequent floors. When I visited last, there was a collection of Adolphe Sax material. Sax is a Belgium instrument inventor of the 1800s.
An audio device is free with entrance, and was fun to use. If you move to the symbol of headphones, on the floor in front of an instrument on display, the audio device will automatically play a sample of that instrument being played. Part of the fun of exploring this museum was hearing all of the different sounds produced by these hundreds of instruments.
There is a restaurant on the top floor that look really nice. The top has beautiful views of Brussels, and you can sit on their terrace. The only thing is that the restaurant is expensive, but the food looks good.
Entrance for students is 2.00 euros. For adults, entrance is 12.00 euros. The museum can be completed in an hour. I thought it was well priced for what it offered. Some floors seemed a little run down, but the sheer collection of unique instruments makes the experience worthwhile.
The museum is located five minutes north of Centraal Station, the middle point of Brussels.
Musical Instrument Museum
Rue Montagne de la Cour 2
1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Tel. +32 2 545 01 30
Hours: Tue to Fri 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
Sat to Sun 10:00 am – 5:00 pm