Musical Instrument Museum - Musée des Instruments de Musique, Brussels
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 museum was a recommendation from Adi, our B&B host, as a thing to do on our last hours in the city and it was spot on! Not only did I like the building it is at, but I liked the idea of showing musical instruments and providing you with free headphones so that you can listen to what they sound like.
The museum has a sound lab where you can experiment with a piano and a Wii orchestra conductor game (lower level) and 3 floors full of musical instruments from Africa and Europe, beginning from antique instruments from Egypt to the electronic instruments of today. My personal favorite was the drums from Cameroun.
The information panels are written only in French and Dutch, but we found free guides in English, that we could borrow to read and learn about the instruments. The entrance fee for an adult is 5 euros (as of March 2010) and before you can go in, you must leave your jacket and backpacks in the deposit next to the ticket booth.
They also have a restaurant at the top floor and a museum shop. More info about opening times and exhibitions on the link below.
The Musical Instrument Museum is well worth a visit. It stocks a huge range of instruments from all eras, from across the world.
When you enter you are given
infra-red headphones, and through these you can hear the sounds of the different instruments playing as you stand near each exhibition - very clever.
The building it is housed in is pretty impressive too.
Closed on : Mondays and on 1st January, 1st May, 1st and 11th November, 25th December
I think it is one of Brussels most
beautiful buildings. It's a matter of taste ,
I just love 'art-nouveaux'
It's such an elegant period....it was ok to
make things beautiful with a lot of curls.
Not everything had to be practical.
You can't miss it. If you walk up the 'kunstberg'
it is one of those buildings that is so
completely different you will notice it.
'Saintenoy' is the designer of this
1899 building. It's name is 'old England'.
In the year 2000 the instruments museum
moved in. And from people who can know it
it has one of the world most leading collections.
Unique is the ability of listening to every single
instruments by wireless headphones.
It gives the museum this special atmosphere.
So quit and peacefull , people completely
getting into the music.
The restaurant on top gives one of Brussels
best vieuws over the city.
Have a look at this great website
This museum is housed in a Art Nouveaux building designed in 1899. It has more than 1.500 intruments from all areas of the world and from all times. These are on display on four floors.
Once you bought your ticket you are given a set of infrared headphones. If you stand besides an instrument; on a spot marked with a headphone on the floor you will hear music played by the instrument on the headphones.
This palace has also a concert hall, a library, a shop and a restaurant on the top. This provides a view over some area of the city.
We are musical lovers, but I don't think you have to be a buff to really enjoy this museum. It houses a collection of ancient and rare instruments from all over the world. See how modern day instruments changed through time to become what they are today! Very interesting museum!!
This Musical Instruments Museum is locate din one of Brussels most beautiful building (up to me), the former Old England.
The museum has an amazing collection on Musical Instruments: it shows more then 7000 instruments of all kinds and from all places.
From the 6th floor of this magnificent building you get a splendid view over Brussels.
Designed by Paul Saintenoy, the 1899 "Old England" warehouse on the Rue de Montagne de la Cour is one of the most distinctive Art Nouveau buildings in the city.
Since 2000 it houses the museum for musical instruments - around 1.500 of the museum's 6.000-piece collection - which is one of the most important of its kind throughout the world - are permanently on display. Of course there are various versions of the Saxophone as well - the instrument's inventor, Adolphe Sax, was a Belgian after all.
There's also a cafe on the 6th floor which offers some nice panoramic views of the city, which makes the hefty museum admission price of 9 Euros more worthwile.
Opening hours :
9:30am-5pm Tue, Wed, Fri
9:30am - 8pm Thu
It is worth the detour
you walk around and see old instruments and you can hear the music it can do in your headsets
First wednesay of each month all the state museums are free!
The architecture is one of Horta's nice works.
Musical Instruments Museum was one of the things that were really high on my list before we visit Brussels. Although I enjoyed the collection we didn’t really get excited with it because there was a big difference with other music museums like the Stockholm for example where you can try and play with many instruments. Here in Brussels you just see old instruments behind glass, you read the info and just put the earphones on to hear how the instrument sounds (even this isn’t always available as the handheld device-headphones you connect doesn’t always operate properly) which is really interesting especially for some unusual non western instruments. There wasn’t much information in english though.
Apart from that the collection is very good with about 8000 (!) instruments covering many centuries and several different types of instruments, some typical ones but also weird ones from east or africa. There different levels, each one focus on different kinds, mechanical instruments, traditional ones, orchestral instruements, keyboards, strings etc By the way don’t forget that Antoine Joseph Sax was from Belgium, yes he was the one that invented saxophone in 19th century, actually he invented and designed many instruments, you can see some of them in the museum.
There’s also an interesting museum store and a café at the top floor with some nice view over the city(pic 5)
The entrance fee is 5euro
The museum is open Tuesday to Friday 9.30-17.00, weekends 10.00-17.00
The Musical Instrumen Museum is housed in the Old England building. You can find it when climbing the "Mont des Arts" (see previous tip), on your left. The building is one of the most beautiful Art Nouveau buildings of Brussels and dates back to 1899.
The museum itself has a beautifull collection of ancient, modern and traditional music. Thanks to headphones, you are able to actually hear the different sounds of the instruments.
Aside from having numerous historical examples of harpsichords and other older keyboard instruments, the Musical Instrument Museum in Brussels also includes a workshop to show how harpsichords are made today.
This museum in Brussels is the newest and largest Musical Instrument Museum that I know of, but there are also some very interesting ones in other European cities such as Paris, Berlin, Stuttgart and Nürnberg.
Second and third photos: In the basement a number of ingenious mechanical instruments are on display, mainly from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These have now been largely supplanted by digital synthesizers, but at the time they were amazingly popular.
Fourth photo: A wire recorder (precursor of the tape recorder) and an old wind-up phonograph.
Fifth photo: Some of the many accordions on display.
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.
This was a really nice surprise! I didn't expect this museum to be very fascinating at all and I only visited because I happened to be near by after visiting the Coudenberg Palace and I thought the building itself looked amazing from the outside.
Indeed the building is amazing and would make a visit worthwhile on it's own. It used to be the Old England department store which is an orgy of Art Nouveau elegance and a must see for all admirers of this style.
The museum contains an amazing number of musical instruments from across the world and the centuries. Many of these I had never even heard of. Just looking at these in cases would be very dull, so the museum hands you a set of headphones as you go in and you plug these in as you make you way around the exhibits to hear a short piece of music played on the instrument.
The museum is arranged over 4 floors each with a slightly different focus. My favourite in the whole museum was the display about ancient music which included an Egyptian shoulder harp from c500BC.
There is also a restaurant on the top floor (with excellent views) and a museum shop (which closes for lunch).
The museum is open Tues to Fri 9.30am to 5pm and on Sat & Sun from 10am to 5pm. Adult admission is €5 or free if you have a BrusselsCard.
Musical Instrument Museum
Musical Instrument Museum (MIM)
rue Montagne de la Cour 2
B-1000 Bruxelles (Belgium)
Tél. : + 32 (0)2 / 545.01.30 Fax : + 32 (0)2 / 545.01.78
The MIM is a federal museum and is a part of the Royal Museum of art and History.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Note : Tickets are sold until 30 minutes before closing time .
Mondays and on 1st January, 1st May, 1st and 11th November, 25th December.
Entrance (audio-guide included). .
Adults 5,00 €
Reductions (reductions cannot be combined):
Students (- de 26 ans)
Seniors (+ de 65 ans)
Groups (min. 15 people, without guided tour). 3,50 €
Unemployed, disabled persons, School groups and youth groups (min. 15 people, without guided tour) 2,00 €
Belgian teachers, Children (under 12 years), Friends of the MIM and of the MRAH, press, SSTC, Icom, Per Musea. Free
The first wednesday afternoon (from 1:00 pm onwards) of the month (permanent collections only). Free
Information and reservations
Public relations : 32-2/545.01.54
Rental services : +32-2 / 741.73.48
Educational service (guided tours, courses, workshops) : 32-2 / 545.01.53
Cultural service (concerts) : 32-2 / 545.01.53
Library : 32-2 / 545.01.70
Shop : 32-2 / 545.01.62
Restaurant : 32-2 / 502.95.08
- Metro : lines 1A ou 1B, stops Central Station or Park
- Tram : lines 92, 93, 94, stop Royale
- Bus : lines 20, 38, 60, 71, 95, 96, stop Royale
- Car : paying underground car park Congrès-Albertine, (entrances in the Place de la Justice or the Rue des Sols).