Parallel to the historic gallery one can visit the "Technical Gallery on 19th century armament". This is a part of the museum for light armament specialists.
In 1889 the Mauser gun was introduced in the Belgian army and the famous Fabrique National d'Armes (FN) in Herstal near Liège was created. (FN Herstal is still a leader in light armament; Browning belongs to the same industrial group. FN has factories in the USA).
This renovated gallery is subdivided in six chronological and typological areas:
The percussion lock.
The rifled barrel.
Loading via the breech.
The bolt-action breech and metal cartridge cases.
The small-calibre repeating firearm.
The Royal Museum of the Army and Military History is located in one of the buildings of the Cinquantenaire Park and contains about one hundred thousand items. This collection makes the museum rank among the top military museums in the world.
Here one can see the development of offensive and defensive weapons from the 8th until the 19th century.Hand weapons, experimental models, gunsmith's equipment, automatic machine guns. This section runs until the mid-20th century and also equipment, photos, documents, armoured tanks.The 'Air' section
In one of the larger halls, a collection of 130 airplanes can be seen . Special attention is given to the airplanes of the period around the second World War as used by the Luftwaffe and the Allied Forces: Hurricanes, Spitfires, Mosquitos, etc. Also on display: Jet planes, Gloster Meteor, F 104 G, a Swedish Draken, Dakota, C-119, Pembroke, etc.
I have no idea what this museum is actually called, I've always somewhat colloquially referred to it as 'The Army Museum' but a bit of research suggests it's actually Musées Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire. Either way, it has to be one of the best hidden (and free) haunts in the city.
Firstly; even if you aren't madly enamoured about army history, there is enough in here to make you go wow. Giant Sabena planes suspended above your head, a massive hall full of aircraft, a yard of tanks, sweeping corridors of armour, its well worth sticking your head inside.
Secondly, not many people realise you can use it to get on top of the giant Cinquantenaire arch. When you enter the museum, turn left, work your way through the Napoleon halls and there is a lift you can take right up to the top. The views are lovely.
Since Belgium is not and never has been a great military power, this is one of Brussels's often forgotten museums, even though the huge collection is one of the finest in Europe. It includes an extensive display of armor, Belgian and foreign uniforms, weapons from various Belgian campaigns (like the Congo), a massive amount of World War I artillery, an aircraft hangar of 130 impressive planes, a World War II collection of Nazi flags, numerous paintings, sculptures, decorations and other memorabilia. Anyone interested in military history shouldn't miss this superb though cluttered collection.
Military treasures from the country's Austrian, French and Dutch periods as well as Belgian independence.
Opening hours Tues-Sun 9am-noon and 1-4:45pm
Closed Jan 1, May 1, Nov 1, Dec 25
I would highly recommend the Belgium Army Museum it was a large museum full of memorbilia from the mediavel to modern. Particularly impressive is there large collection of aircraft.
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