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BRUSSELS : The City Museum
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For more information about entrance fees and opening hours of the museums, check out this Brussels Museums Portal

The City museum is situated in the King's House on the Grand'place of Brussels. In 1884 Brussels decided to open a museum about the rich past of the city. It was the mayor of Brussels, Mr. Karel BULS, who was the driving force behind this creation. The museum opened its doors to the public in 1887. The beginnings were modest. The rather small collection was housed on the second floor of the building. During the course of the years, however, the collection continued to grow thanks to different legacies. A plan to use the entire building for the city museum collection in 1935 was interrupted during World War II, when the occupants claimed the building for the city administration. Finally, in 1960, the King's House was entirely transformed into the city museum.

Above : The wedding procession ( 1560's ?)- attributed to Pieter Bruegel the elder 
Reproduced with kind permission of Het museum van het Broodhuis - the city museum of Brussels

The museum is devoted to all aspects of the city's history. On the ground level is a collection of art objects showing the plastic and decorative arts of Brussels : wall tapestries (some based on paintings made by Barend Van Orley and Peter Paul Rubens), paintings (amongst which a 'peasant wedding' attributed to Brueghel the Elder), altar pieces, faience (the typical earthwork of Brussels) and goldsmith work.
On the second floor one can see a collection of documents and miniature scale models which outline the development and growth of the city.
The third floor shows the cultural, economic and social development of Brussels by means of several historic documents, paintings, engravings, scientific documents and manuscripts. On this floor the wardrobe of Manneken Pis can be seen . The little boy already possesses a collection of more than 600 costumes. 

Opening hours
Tuesday to Friday : from 10 am till  5 pm
Closed on Mondays.
Admission
3,00 € (Euro) per person, 1,50 € (Euro) per person for children and groups of min. 12 persons
Location
Grote Markt / Grand'Place - 1000 Brussels  -Tel : +32(0)2-279 43 50

Wall tapestries in Brussels.

brussel-wandtapijt.jpg (40228 bytes)Brussels was between the late 15th and the 18th century the undisputed center of wall tapestry weaving in Europe. Because of the presence of the Court of Brabant in the city, a lot of foreign monarchs visited the city on regular intervals. Therefore, a luxury industry like tapestry weaving could be developed. 

This industry remained the economic backbone of Brussels for several centuries. A lot of inhabitants found work in this highly labour-intensive art. Tapestries were mostly manufactured in series of four to sometimes eight pieces. These series were meant for the decoration (and also insulation) of the rooms in the different European castles and courts.
The typical elements of a Brussels wall tapestry are the use of the colours red, blue and brown and the presence of a border which was decorated with fruits or plant motives. The scenes represented could be religious as well as historical. The tapestries were woven based on sketches made by important painters (e.g. Van Orley, Rubens, etc...) Sometimes the Brussels origin of a tapestry can be detected through the presence of the red nitials
B.B on the lower border. This initials were used as the Brussels trade mark and meant 'Brussels in Brabant', Brabant being the dukedom of which Brussels was the capital. Brussels wall tapestries are now spread all over the world. Sometimes the initials B.B. have been removed.

Above : One of a series of four wall tapestries depicting 'The legend of Our Lady of the Sablon' - the original drawings that were used to weave the tapestries are attributed to Barend Van Orley (1492-1542) - Reproduced with kind permission of Het museum van het Broodhuis - the city museum of Brussels


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