This Art nouveau building from the year 1899 was originally built for the "Old England" department store.
After the store moved out some seventy years later, the building stood empty for a long time and must have been quite an eyesore in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.
In recent years the building has been carefully restored, and now houses the "mim" Musical Instrument Museum.
Second photo: Old England from across the street.
Third, fourth and fifth photos: Instruments on the second floor of the Musical Instrument Museum.
The Musical Instrument Museum used to be a department store hence the name Old England. The facade of the building is one of the finest examples of Art Nouveau in the city of Brussels. We passed by on several occassions, stopping to take more pictures in the changng light conditions. The first sight of this wonderous arty building is an amazing with its intricate detailed ironwork spiraling towards the sky. For admission times and ticket prices see the web site below. I was more than happy to view the exterior but if the sun hadn't shone I would have liked to see the musical exhibits here.
This excellent and unique museum features more than 7,000 instruments of different kinds from all over the world arranged over four floors in the Art Nouveau showpiece building known as Old England. The collection includes many fine examples of wind, string and keyboard instruments from medieval times to the present day. When you arrive, you’re given a set of headphones to wear which let you hear some of the instruments when you stand in certain areas that are marked with a headphone symbol on the floor. Great idea!
The basement floor includes mechanical instruments, 20th century instruments, a group of bells and a sound area. The ground floor houses Belgian and European folk instruments as well as non-European instruments. The first floor features many older European instruments as well as instruments right up to the 20th century. The second floor has a more systematic presentation, showing the development of keyboards instruments and stringed instruments.
The museum was first started in the 19th century when the state bought 80 ancient and exotic instruments. It was doubled in 1876 when King Leopold II donated 97 Indian musical instruments presented to him by a maharajah. A museum displaying all of these opened in 1877 and by 1924 the museum boasted 3,300.
The wonderful looking building was once a department store known as Old England. It was designed as a striking showpiece of Art Nouveau architecture by Paul Saintenoy for the Old England Company in 1899. The façade is made entirely of glass and wrought iron. There is a domed gazebo on the roof and a turret to one side. Today, the building houses the excellent Musical Instruments Museum, which has been here since June 2000. As you walk round the museum you will see more of the original features from the buildings past.
1 of the most beautiful Art Deco houses in Brussels is the home of the Museum of Musical Instruments.
Its remarkable collection was started in 1872, and has developed into 1 of the most exceptional collections of musical instruments of all time.
It's pretty easy to figure out which building is the Musical Instrument Museum. It is a black builidng with "Old English" written on it, along with musical notes all over it. Inside there are 5 floors that have examples covering a wide range of musical instruments in history, from ancient instruments to modern synthesizers. The most impressive collections are pianos and wind instruments from the 17th through 19th centuries. Also, the part of the museum that shows the mechanisms of many of the instruments is very interesting.
The tour can take as long as you'd like it to be. It all depends on your interest level. For someone who only has a passive interest on the history of musical instruments, this museums was still worth it. I don't know if it's an everyday occurance, but in addition to the museums, our enterance tickets allowed us to see a musical performance.
There is a student discount, so bring your ID.
This must be best museum in Brussels, and maybe one of the best in Europe.
Thanks to the headphones you can get a rich overview of the history of music. Just approach some of the rare musical instruments, and you will hear a piece of music played with that particular instrument.
Furthermore, the exhibition is located in one of the most beautiful monuments in Brussels, a former Art Nouveau warehouse.
Don't forget to go up and enjoy a coffee on the terrace for some breathtaking views
Certainly don't miss the MIM (Music Instrument Museum).
It shows you a nice and wide collection of instruments.
When you enter you get a headphone that operates on infra-red.
The moment you catch a signal standing in front of an instrument, you will hear the music of that instrument.
I loved the first floor with all the 'popular' and 'folk' instruments!
I am also very proud about the huge collection of beautiful Antwerp clavecimbels.
I remember when I was about 15 we visited this museum when it was still on another location and the guides played on those instruments! It was just great!
My favourite museum in town. For a start, the building is lovely, but the museum itself is wonderful. It opened in its new form only a few years ago and can now show the whole collection that has existed for more than a century. You walk around with your own headsets listening to many of them through infrared sensoring. You soon figure out where to stand for the headset to work and can then listen to an array of instruments. My favourites are the huge Tibetan trumpets looking like didgeridoos and the Bavarian trumpets with gemstones galore. I also enjoyed the odd instruments created by Belgian Adolphe Sax - inventor of the saxophone. There are also fascinating Russian clarinets with serpent heads, Balkan bagpipes where you see every bit used of the sheep, wooden instruments with wonderful soft curves and amazingly painted early pianos and similar. Go there! :-) When you've seen it all, you can visit the top floor restaurant and cafe with great city views.
Step into the world of the creation of musical instruments. You will open your ears and eyes.
On top of that I recommand you to take a break at the 6th floor on the terras where you have a magnificent view of Brussels.
Opening hours are from 10:00 - 17:00.
See you there!
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