At the Heysel area, near the big Atomium Monument, you also can visit the Bruparck.
There are several activities that you can do here.
There is the big cinema complex Kinepolis with 24 (I think) halls and an IMAX theatre.
There is the Oceade, a tropical water paradise.
There is Mini-Europe, where you can see Europe’s most important buildings and Landmarks in scaled models.
There is the Village, a complex of cafes and restaurants, built as an old Belgium village.
Here you can enjoy
- Mini Europe: is a park with reconstructions of the major monuments of Europe only in miniature, like the Sacre Coeur, the Eiffel Tower, Houses of Parliament, Brandenburg Gate, Big Ben,...
- Oceade: do you want to make a tropical beach experience ?? Then Oceade is your place ! It's an indoor swimming complex.
- Kinepolis: one of the largest cinema complexes in Europe with 24 cinema rooms so as a giant IMAX movie screen.
Mini-Europe is located in the Heysel area of NW Brussels and features a large area of model buildings and street scenes from each country of the EU. I arrived early on a Monday when the park had just opened and had the whole place to myself to wander around in and marvel and the intricately designed models. Each model has a scale of 1/25 and 55 professional workshops from 9 EU countries were contracted to carry out the mammoth task in making the 100 plus models.
As you walk round the models you can play each countries national anthems by pressing a big red button on top of a sign that shows population and area figures for that country. The models are very well done. Favourites for me are the House of Parliament (UK), Grand Place (Brussels!), Eiffel Tower, Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (Spain), Pisa (Italy), Mount Vesuvius (Italy - where you press a button and it erupts shaking the ground and sending smoke into the air), Prague and all the models in Holland and Belgium.
If you pick up a leaflet from your hotel it may have a €1,00 off the entrance coupon which is handy to take as the entrance fee is a rather hefty €12,00. You're given a good booklet that outlines all the models in each country when you pay.
Open: 9.30am - 6pm daily or 9.30-8pm daily in summer. Admission: €12,00.
In the shade of one of Brussels most, if not the most, renowned features, The Atomium, lies Mini Europe as a part of the leisure park Bruparck. It is a collection of famous buildings from all over (western) Europe. Depending on how meticulously one scrutinises the craftily reproduced models the visit can last from about three hours up to half a day or more. A cafetaria is at hand to quench ones thirst or have a meal or just enjoy a drink on the terrace overlooking the scene. A souvenir stand is present on the premises as well as a souvenir stand in the cafetaria itself. Linked to the attraction is "The Spirit of Europe", an interactive exposition revealing the many facets of the united Europe as we know it today through a number of games and quizzes.
The largest stadium in Belgium (50,000 seats) was opened in 1995 after a ten year programme to rebuild the former Heysel Stadium. The new name of the stadium is Koning Boudewijnstadion / Stade Roi Baudouin named to the predecessor of King Albert II.
The opening match of the Euro 2000 championship was played here.
The former stadium built in 1930 was of course most notorious for being the site of a terrible disaster in 1985, when thirty-nine Italian and Belgian fans died and hundreds were injured. A retaining wall separating the Liverpool followers from Juventus supporters in sector 'Z' collapsed and many were crushed or trampled when panicking Juventus fans tried to escape.
The Football Association has banned the English clubs from playing in Europe following this tragedy.
The Atomium is a really nice place to visit.
This monument is the symbol of the Brussels world fair of 1958.
The Atomium is the visual representation of the concept of an atom. It presents an iron crystal with its 9 atoms. The architect was André Waterkeyn.
The elevator takes you to the upper sphere where you can enjoy a view of the Heysel area (Mini-Europe, Océane,...) so as over the city of Brussels - if the weather is good :-).
In the other spheres are different expositions organized.
The opening hours: from 10 a.m. till 5.30 p.m. and from April to August 'till 7.30 p.m.
Atomium is probably the main landmark of Brussels. Getting a photograph in front of it is a must if you are visiting Belgium. There is always a long lineup for tickets to visit the Atomium inside so you might just decide to save some time and visit the Mini Europe park right next to it. This park contains many of the main landmarks from counties of the European Union and is probably more fun than the Atomium.
Just next to the atomium.
Here you find famous and important buildings from all over europe in repliks in 1:25 dimension. It´s for children as for a adults a very interesting place. There´s a little bit animation in some models like the belling Big Ben, a starting Ariane rocket and other sounds.
We´ve never been in London together, but now we have a photo with Cecilia in front of the parliament ;-) Fantastic work, one of the best works for me here in Mini-Europe....
Take your time to read a bit of the information a little guide book gives. You can get it in several languages at the entrance.
Open from 9:30 to 17:00, have a closer look at the website
MINI EUROPE is a miniature world displaying models of major events in the history of Europe. Some are hands-on such as the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Visitors can make it happen. There are even scaled down replicas of the Channel Tunnel and the Ariane rocket !
The Bru-park is an entertainment center that contains 'mini-Europe', which is scale model replicas of European landmarks. It also has plenty of cafes and restaurants. This area was surprisingly enjoyable. I thought the replicas were very cool. It also contains a cineplex with 26 screens and an Imax theatre. It was an easy ride on the metro from downtown. Seems touristy, but well worth the visit.
Mini-Europe is located at the Atomium complex - and is a fun place to take kids to.
It has miniature models of European landmarks, and some of which are interactive and have moving elements.
The park is rather small - it take about an hour to go through it so you can wrap it around a trip to the Atomium itself.
They are open daily from 9.30am to 6pm; and in the summer to 8pm
Ticket cost Euro 12 for adults, small children can enter for free (they have a rather peculiar rule, based on height rather than age so children under 1.2m can enter for free).
Looking at this picture might be misleading, this is not the real City Hall but the miniature one in Mini Europe - one of the must see of Brussels - in the Brupark near the Atomium. The hall is in fact taller than a human, and the Grand Place is pictured during the flower carpet festival.
I had a good time in Mini Europe, although, when I got in, I was pissed off because of the Atomium "fraud". We had a chance of taking photos jumping over Big Ben and other childish things that felt nice.
I was a bit dissapointed because of the Parthenon location though :((
Are we even since I'm telling all this bad stuff about the Atomium then?
This is a place where you may see minatures of most popular buildings and monuments located in Europe... MINI-EUROPE is the only park where you can have a whitlestop tour around Europe in a few short hours.
The incomparable chimes of Big Ben welcome you to the heart of London. The gondolas and mandolins will invite you to discover the charms of Venice. Follow the T.G.V. from Paris to the other end of France. You can make the models work yourself : the eruption of Vesuvius, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the bullfight in Seville and many more…