Royal Museum of the Armed Forces & Military History, Brussels

26 Reviews

Parc du Cinquantenaire, 3, Brussels 1000 +32 2 737 78 11

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • Napoleonic gallery
    Napoleonic gallery
    by gwened
  • Belgian 1830 gallery
    Belgian 1830 gallery
    by gwened
  • entrance museum of royal armed forces
    entrance museum of royal armed forces
    by gwened
  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Army Museum - World War I

    by breughel Updated Feb 27, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Room 1914 - 18 is now open again 26/02/2014 for a special exhibition:
    EXPO 14 - 18 C'est Notre Histoire! 14 - 18 It's Our History!
    till 26/04/2015.

    The Royal Army Museum in Brussels is considered as the most important in the world regarding the number, originality and diversity of objects from WWI. Although the space is important a selection had to be made.
    The new technologies appearing during the 1914-1918 World War have been put in evidence.
    A large part is therefore devoted to the artillery with a wide variety of guns of all types and calibre. Massive simultaneous artillery firing with several thousand cannons was usual. The other new technology was the machine gun. Various models are shown. The defensive power of the heavy machine gun put an end to 19th century infantry tactics at the cost of so many lives.
    In reaction to the machine guns tanks were developed. The museum shows a unique British tank Mark IV from 1917. This is a monster of 27 tons with two 57 mm canons and several machine guns. Max. speed was 6 Km/hr.

    The technology of the terrible toxic gasses, used for the first time in Belgium near Ypres, is detailed. Numerous protective caps and masks are shown in the windows.

    The aviation of WW I can be seen in the aviation part of the museum.

    The museum shows a large number of uniforms. Most belligerent countries are represented. Unique is the large collection of German helmets.

    Admission: Free
    Opening hours: Open from Tuesday until Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.
    Closed: On Mondays, January 1, May 1, November 1, December 25, and election days.

    Army museum - Tank Mark IV,  UK 1917 Army museum - Heavy artillery WWI Army museum - Gas protection. Army museum - German helmets WWI
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Army Museum - Treasures of Imperial Russia.

    by breughel Updated Jan 4, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Army Museum hosts an unexpected and unique collection of Russian silverware, trumpets and uniforms belonging to the tsars and the Cossack regiment of the emperors' guard.
    The Cossack officers saved these objects, displayed at their officers' mess in St-Petersburg, from the 1917 revolution. After a long journey they arrived in France but with the "Front Populaire" (with participation of the communists) in 1936 the emigrated Cossack officers took their treasures to the Royal Army Museum in Brussels.

    A special new hall, bathed in obscurity in order to emphasize the exposed pieces, was inaugurated in 2001 in the presence of the Ambassador of Russia.
    The most important silver piece is the silver punch bowl weighing over 50 kg.
    The 22 silver trumpets were given to the Cossack regiment after the 1812 - 1813 campaign against Napoleon. At the battle of Leipzig, The bravery of Russian Cossacks saved the King of Prussia, the Austrian Emperor and the Tsar Alexander I who were encircled on a hill by French cuirassiers.
    The uniforms are exceptional. Three belong to Emperors.

    It is not surprising that Russian tourists visit now the Army museum in Brussels with regard to that exceptional collection.

    Warning: This room is presently closed - January 2014

    Army museum - Imperial guard uniform. Army museum - Trumpet of the Cossacks regiment. Army museum - Punch bowl of the Cossacks officers.
    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Army Museum - Introduction.

    by breughel Updated Jan 4, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Military Museum is part of a monumental complex called "Le Cinquantenaire".
    This was a green area "Jubilee Park" where exhibition halls were built to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Belgian Kingdom in 1880.
    For the 1910 World Exhibition a large number of military objects were collected here to give the visitor an idea of the history of Belgian armed forces in the 19th century. This was the start for the Musée de l'Armée / Museum van het Leger (Museum of the Army).
    After World War I the collection grew considerably as well as after WW II; the little Belgium being each time in the "eye of the cyclone". In August 1914 invaded by the Kaiser's Germany, in May 1940 invaded by Nazi Germany!

    In 1972 an Air and Space Department was inaugurated and in 1980 an Armoured Vehicles Department was formed. In 1986, an important ancient (medieval) Arms and Armour collection was transported from the Porte de Hal / Hallepoort to the Museum.

    Presently the Museum of the Army is still renovating and expanding. From my visits to military museums in Europe I can say that it is one of the most important museums for the period of the 19th and 20th centuries. I observed on my last visits that it attracts more and more foreigners. They are now nearly half of the more than 250.000 visitors per year.

    Admission Free
    Open from Tuesday until Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.
    Closed on Mondays, January 1, May 1, November 1, December 25, and election days

    Warning: Room 1914 - 18 is closed this month of January. Will open again on 7/02/2014 for a special exhibition:
    EXPO 14 - 18
    C'est notre histoire!
    till 26/04/2015.

    Mus��e Royal de l. Arm��e - Salle historique. Mus��e RAHM - Belgian Revolution 1830 Mus��e Royal de l. Arm��e.
    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Royal Museum of the Armed Forces I

    by gwened Written Jan 6, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    yes, my most memorable experience to visit and then some bit of disappointment. I have been here before on quick trip alone, then finally visit Brussels with the family and took them here. The initial experience was good,then lunch time arrived.

    The museum has a peculiar time schedule that it closes at noon, and speaks out on public announcement that you can stay in the Aviation hall or the restaurant (very convenient). We didn't want it cafeteria style food in the resto,and don't like to wait an hour doing nothing. So decided to come out, boy that took some times, there are no signs to let you out and all door into the museum were closed!!! When we finally ask at the resto they told us there is an exit hallway by the WC lol!! this is the rest room! Never would figure in my life the exit door was by going thru a bathroom /rest room first, but here it is. Oh well we got out,and lesson learned not to get caught at lunch time here.

    The rest was nice historical ,wonderful ,full of great airplanes, tanks, military heavy equipment, uniforms, and swords, rifles etc from the Napoleonics times to the present. There are presentation of historical events with the equipment use all the time, see the webpage for udpates.

    You have theme spaces coming from main entrance,going thru a Dutch gallery, then the Belgian war of 1830, a technical area of weaponry and armaments, medieval, Napoleonic era, 1914-1918 WWI era, the Russian gallery , the Tanks (many American tanks here) display in a patio open area in the middle of the building, you have a huge Aviation dept with planes from many countries including Mig soviet era, Navy gallery area, upper level hall Bordieu with light machine guns,a contemporary European conflicts gallery and Belgium during occupation.

    All is house by the parc du cinquentanaire, monumental building, first pushed by King Leopold II idea of bringing Belgium to the forefront of nations. For the 1910 World Exhibition, Louis Leconte collected about nine hundred objects and called his compilation Musée de l'Armée / Museum van het Leger (Museum of the Army). These objects were to give the visitor an idea of the history of Belgian armed forces in the 19th century. The exhibition was a big success.
    After World War I, things moved very quickly. The collection grew considerably because of numerous contributions by private persons and through the support of several foreign governments. After 1919, the building bulged with so many items that new housing was necessary. A new home for these items was found in the northern wing of the Jubilee site. On June 28, 1923, King Albert I officially opened the Military Museum. Louis Leconte had been dismissed from active military service and was appointed head curator. During World War II, the occupying forces closed the Museum down. After the war, the collections once again opened to the public. Where it continue today to marvel the world of its wonderful displays.

    There is a museum boutique shop open every day exept Mondays
    9h to 12h and then 13h to 16h45
    The Skycafé resto is open from Tuesday through Sunday between 10h30 to 16h20 ,kitchen is open Kitchen 11h30 to 14h
    ADMISSION IS FREE
    Closed
    On Mondays, January 1, May 1, November 1, December 25, and election days

    you get here by Tram 81 and 82. Bus N° 27,28,36,61,67,80. Metro Schuman or Merode (Line 1). Train Schuman or Merode Train Station
    however we took tram 25 stop at montgomery and came in from outside into the park

    entrance museum of royal armed forces medieval armor at museum Napoleonic gallery Belgian 1830 gallery Artillery lane
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • mindcrime's Profile Photo

    Royal Museum of Army and Military History

    by mindcrime Updated Oct 28, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Musee Royal de L’armee et D’histoire militaire is a good museum although its theme isn’t the most attractive of course and if you start to watch the interactive videos here and there you will feel a bit sad at the end.

    It covers the last 10 centuries of military and technology history, in some rooms I got bored but there hundreds and hundreds different items to see, from uniforms(extended collection) and weapons (antique swords to modern fully armored vehicles, tanks etc) and from airplanes (always nice to see but too much dust) to paintings and sculptures (yes I know I dint come for them either).

    The good thing here is that it has free entrance, don’t expect many people inside, 2-3 other visitor were inside through out my visit! (but I was there at 9.00)

    The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday 9.00-12.00 and 13.00-16.45

    Royal Museum of Army and Military History Royal Museum of Army and Military History Royal Museum of Army and Military History Royal Museum of Army and Military History Royal Museum of Army and Military History
    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Belgium after Independence 1830 - 1914.

    by breughel Written Sep 14, 2012

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The first large hall to enter is called the Salle Historique. The presentation of this gallery is typical of the years 1920 with a multitude of uniforms, flags and paintings. There are about 8.000 objects distributed in 45 crowded windows and all over the walls. They date from the begin of the Belgian independent state in 1830 till 1914.

    Inaugurated in 1923 the Museum wanted to show everything to the general public to stimulate patriotism as well as to show many objects to the researchers and the military.
    The soldiers of 19th c. were volunteers called "Gardes civiques". There was infantry with "chasseurs", "chasseurs éclaireurs", grenadiers, and cavalry.

    Unfortunately for the present visitor there are nearly no explanations or notices. The modernization of this hall is under discussion but it results from an inquiry among visitors that most like this typical ancient aspect. It is a museum in the museum. Now a good cleaning and addition of trilingual notices is, I think, a need for this hall but not much more.
    A funny thing is that each time I enter this hall with all the Belgian flags I have the impression to see Brussels with all the flags like on the Liberation day (ref. my intro on Belgium and Brussels).

    Admission: Free.
    Opening hours:
    Open from Tuesday until Sunday from 9 to 12 h. and from 13 to 16.45 h.
    Closed: On Mondays, January 1, May 1, November 1, December 25, and election days.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Army museum. Cyclists at war.

    by breughel Written Sep 11, 2012

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The visitors of the military museums are generally enticed and impressed by the armour suits of the knights, the sparkling uniforms of the cavalry of Napoleon or the bearskin hats of Grenadiers or more the heavy tanks of the modern wars.
    I discovered in this museum that a means of transportation as peaceful as the bicycle knew its hour of glory in the Belgian army.

    Actually the bicycle military units appeared in the U.K. which in 1915 possessed an Army Cyclist Corps of a dozen battalions. During WW I the French, German and the Italian Bersaglieri had cyclist companies.
    Bicycles presented indisputable advantages compared to horses: economic, no forage, silent. The units mounted on bicycles could move 50 miles a day with their package attached to their bicycle.

    Among all these military cyclists the Belgian Carabiniers Cyclistes were the most efficient in the war. The Battalion of Carabiniers Cyclistes was a part of the Cavalry Division which protected the retreat of the Belgian army during the German offensive of August, 1914. At Halen, near Diest, this battalion resisted triumphantly to eight attacks of Uhlans, German cavalry. The battle of Halen made 1100 deaths on the Belgian side and 3000 on the German side.
    As the Carabiniers Cyclistes wore a uniform of very dark green colour the Germans called them " schwarze Teufels " the " black Devils ". The name and the emblem of a black devil - diable noir stayed and became the official name of the Regiment.

    In 1940 they still had bicycles but also machine guns and towed antitank guns. They were capable of resisting to the German blitzkrieg at the battle of Knesselaere.
    After the war they were transformed into infantry armoured battalions within the armoured division together with the former cavalry converted to tanks.
    The Carabiniers Cyclistes are the only Belgian infantry to wear the black beret of the tank crews.

    The story of bicycles in the armies did not finish with the conversion to armoured infantry after WW II. In Zwitserland the world's last remaining cyclist regiment has been disbanded only in 2003 and after much protest.
    Swiss army bikes are already a collector's item.

    D��fil�� of Carabiniers Cyclistes around 1930. Belgian army bicycle. Black beret of Cyclists 1965. 4th Bn Carabiniers Cyclistes in 1965. Emblem of 4th Bn Carabiniers Cyclistes.
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • TexFT's Profile Photo

    The Army Museum

    by TexFT Written Aug 5, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

    Museum Hall Have a waffle in the cafe opposite?
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Army Museum III - Aviation - WW I

    by breughel Updated Jul 27, 2012

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Brussels museum is number one on planes of WW I.
    The oldest model is a Belgian triplan Bataille from 1911.
    A replica of a Voisin-Farman biplane is now (spring 2008) under construction. This plane, with baron Pierre de Caters as pilot, was the first to fly in the Belgian skies in 1908.
    Most planes from WW I are French starting with a Farman MF 11 (1914). This was a bomber carrying 18 small bombs of 7 kg thrown by hand.
    Better known are the fighter planes Nieuport called "Baby" because the total wing surface was only 13 sq.m. and the Spad of 18 sq.m. build for speed (max. 234 km/h) and diving ability. These planes were flown by the "aces" fighter pilots Guynemer, Fonck, and Nungesser.

    There is also a Caudron G3 and a very rare seaplane Schreck FBA type H of 1915.
    From British production one can see a Sopwith Camel and a rare exemplar of a Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter. It was the first allied fighter aircraft to be equipped with a synchronised machine gun, mounted above the engine and designed to fire between the propeller blades. Also on display are a Bristol Fighter F2B and a Royal Aircraft Factory RE8.
    On the German side the museum shows a Halberstadt C.V which is the only exemplar still in existence.

    Mus��e RAHM - Sopwth 1 1/2 Strutter  1915 Mus��e RAHM - Halberstadt CV  1918 Mus��e RAHM - Bristol Fighter F2B    1917 Mus��e RAHM Hanriot-Dupont HD1 + Nieuport Mus��e RAHM - Royal Aircraft factory RE8
    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Army museum - Salle historique 1831 - 1914.

    by breughel Updated Jul 27, 2012

    5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The first large hall to enter is called the Salle Historique. The presentation of this gallery is typical of the years 1920 with a multitude of uniforms, flags and paintings. There are about 8.000 objects distributed in 45 crowded windows and all over the walls. They date from the begin of the Belgian independent state in 1830 till 1914.
    Inaugurated in 1923 the Museum wanted to show everything to the general public to stimulate patriotism as well as to show many objects to the researchers and the military.

    The soldiers of 19th c. were volunteers called "gardes civiques". There was infantry with "chasseurs", "chasseurs éclaireurs" and grenadiers, cavalry, not to forget the band (photo n°2). Interesting is that uniform of a "cantinière" and her small barrel of brandy (photo n°3).

    Unfortunately for the present visitor there are nearly no explanations or notices. The modernisation of this hall is under discussion but it results from an inquiry among visitors that most like this typical ancient aspect. It is a museum in the museum. Now a good cleaning and addition of trilingual notices is, I think, a need for this hall but not much more.
    A funny thing is that each time I enter this hall with all the Belgian flags I have the impression to see Brussels with all the flags like on the Liberation day (ref. my intro on Belgium and Brussels).

    Admission: Free.
    Opening hours:
    Open from Tuesday until Sunday from 9 to 12 h. and from 13 to 16.45 h.
    Closed: On Mondays, January 1, May 1, November 1, December 25, and election days.

    Army museum - Salle historique 1831-1914 Army museum - Garde civique band. Army museum - Cantini��re de la Garde civique.
    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Army Museum - Tanks.

    by breughel Updated Jul 22, 2011

    5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    On the inner courtyard stand about thirty tanks most representative of WWII and the cold war period. This is a small part of a collection of 250 tanks stored at the fort of Kapellen near Antwerp.

    WORLD WAR II is represented by the British heavy tank IV CHURCHILL, the USA by the M4A4 SHERMAN, Germany with the heavy TIGER IV and Russia by its mighty enemy the IS-3-STALIN and many others.

    For the post WW II period a number of armoured vehicles used by the Belgian army in the cold war period are displayed. They are rather familiar to me and many Belgians as they correspond to the years 1960 - 80 when we did our military service.
    I do especially remember my training on the American M75 Full Track Infantry fighting vehicle which was widely in service in the Belgian Army after 1957. They were followed by the (more comfortable if that term can apply to an AIFV) French AMX 13 model 56 VTT of which, starting in 1962, about 500 equipped mainly the armoured infantry battalions of the Carabiniers Cyclistes.

    Next to these infantry armoured carriers stand the tanks: The M 47 Patton and the light Walker Bulldog which equipped our tank battalions. Around 1970 the German tank Leopard 1/A5 replaced the Patton.

    It was a strange feeling to see an AMX 13 of my former battalion parked in this museum. Made me realize that military material is easily outdated and that I'm also becoming an old-timer!

    Army museum - AMX13 VTT at 4Cy, Duren 1965.
    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    Royal Army and Military History Museum

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Apr 4, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We took the subway to the Army Museum to see a different part of the city. This is a nice neighborhood, but very quiet and deserted compared to the area around the Grand Place.

    Though we did not go in the museum, I am told it covers military history from the Middle Ages to the present. It is open Tuesday through Sunday from 0900-1645 (closed from 1200-1300 for lunch!). Admission is free.

    The wonderful triple arch was completed in 1905, just in time for the 75th anniversary of Belgian independence. In 1910, the two halls beside the arch were finished, but one was destroyed by fire in 1956.

    The Army museum began as a temporary display for the 1910 World Exposition and has since been a permanent fixture of the Belgian museum scene.

    My friend Spatch at Arch of Triumph at Jubelpark
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Army museum - Technical gallery.

    by breughel Updated Apr 19, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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 flintlock.
    The percussion lock.
    The rifled barrel.
    Loading via the breech.
    The bolt-action breech and metal cartridge cases.
    The small-calibre repeating firearm.

    Army museum - Technical galery. Army museum - multibarrel gun.
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • cadzand's Profile Photo

    The Royal Museum of the Army and Military History

    by cadzand Updated Jul 10, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Collections :
    The Middle Ages
    The Astrina Netherlands
    The Napoleonic Ara
    Belgium in the 19th century
    The First World War 1914 -1918
    The Second World War 1940 -1945
    The Aeroplanes
    The Tanks, the Navy, Arms in the 19th century

    Entrance free
    Opening hours : daily from tuesday to sunday from 9 a.m. to 12 a.m and from 1 p.m to 4.45 p.m.
    How to get there : tram : nr 81.
    Bus :nrs 20, 28, 36, 61, 67, 80
    Metro train : Merode or Schuman stations
    Car, bus : Ample parking space on Cinquantenaire esplanade

    Royal Museum Army and Military History
    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Budget Travel
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Army museum II - Aviation department.

    by breughel Updated Apr 10, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    One of the major departments of the army museum is the Aviation department hosted in a very large gallery (nearly 200 m long, 40 m high) dating from the national exhibition of 1880.
    The air museum started in 1972 with some thirty aircraft but, thanks to a large-scaled international exchange campaign and the reputation of having skilful restoration teams made from volunteers and members of the Belgian Air Force, it displays now 130 aeroplanes.
    What surprises is the diversity of the machines and countries. NATO countries of course but also Sweden and the former Soviet Union.
    Another surprise is that these planes are stored above each other with on top a large civilian jet "Caravelle" which was used by many companies in Europe in the sixties and seventies.
    The collection of planes from the First and Second World Wars or the interwar and post-war periods is exceptional. Some of them, including the Nieuport 23, the Schreck seaplane and two German observation planes from the First World War are very rare and exceptional.
    I will detail them by periods in my further tips.
    I heard that this part of the army museum is going to be renovated and will be closed. When is not yet clear. This spring (2008) another four historical planes are added to the collection.
    Admission Free.
    Open from Tuesday until Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.
    Closed on Mondays, January 1, May 1, November 1, December 25, and election days
    Photos are allowed.
    There is no heating in this gallery; in winter it is better to keep your coat on.

    Mus��e RAHM - Aviation -  view 1 Mus��e RAHM - Aviation - view 2 Mus��e RAHM - Aviation - view 3
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Brussels

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

41 travelers online now

Comments

View all Brussels hotels