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Brussels doctors to hand out prescriptions for museum visits

16:05 02/09/2021

The Brussels-City councillor in charge of culture and tourism is working with a Brussels hospital to launch a programme that would see museum visits prescribed by doctors.

Councillor Delphine Houba (PS) got the idea from Montreal, which has been prescribing free visits to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts since 2018. “Any doctor there can issue up to 50 prescriptions a year to patients for whom a visit to the museum could be beneficial,” she told L’Echo. “I find this a very intriguing idea. It’s been shown that art is good for both our physical and our mental well-being.”

She’s not wrong: Many studies have shown that art therapy reduces stress and helps ease depression and PTSD. Houba is working with the psychiatric department at CHU Brugmann as well as the five museums under her remit – Brussels City Museum, Fashion & Lace Museum, GardeRobe Manneken Pis, Sewer Museum and the Centrale for Contemporary Art – on a three-month pilot project.

The project will involve doctors providing psychiatric patients with a form that allows them to visit one of the five museums for free. There will also be group visits organised with patients from Brugmann’s stress clinic. The project will be assessed at the end of the year and continued if considered successful.

Photo: An installation at the Centrale for Contemporary Art  ©LB


Written by Lisa Bradshaw