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Culture, with caution: these museums are ready to reopen next week

13:35 13/05/2020

Museums across Belgium are beginning to announce their reopening next week. This is not a return to pre-pandemic conditions - hours are curtailed and visiting protocols are changed.

Here are some of the museums that are set to reopen soon, but please check with the institutions for any last-minute changes before heading out for a visit.

Opening Tuesday 19 May

The three exhibitions, Keith Haring, Mondo Cane and Vjenceslav Richter are extended until 21 July. Open Tuesday to Sunday, there will be no group visits, no lunch tours, no Walk with Me tours, no family weekend and no discovery trails. If you already hold tickets you will be able to use them on the date of your choice, availability permitting. For ticket sales they are switching to online sales exclusively.

The Royal Museums of Fine Art
The Old Masters Museum will be the first museum to reopen, on 19 May. The other four (Fin-de-Siècle, Magritte, Wiertz and Meunier) will follow as conditions permit. Visitor flow will be controlled by an hourly quota. When purchasing your tickets online you will choose a timeslot. A one-way circuit through the museum has been established and must be adhered to. No audio guides will be available. Disinfectant gels and wipes will be available at the e-ticket counters, cash registers and the museum shop.

Africa Museum
Spring is a lovely time to go out to the Africa Museum. If you already hold tickets, send them an email ( with the new date you have chosen. The museum has not posted any particulars on its pandemic visiting measures yet so be sure to check their website.

Train World
Train World's blockbuster exhibition Paul Delvaux: The Man Who Loved Trains has been extended into the summer so you should be able to catch it.

BAM (Beaux-Arts Mons)
Originally scheduled to start in March, the show Ecole de Mons 1820-2020 which examines the rich not-so-well-known heritage of the Mons School will be on from 19 May to 16 August.

Bastogne War Museum
With the 75th anniversary of the end of the second world war, this museum is particularly relevant this year. The current temporary exhibition is all about the Battle of the Bulge which took place 75 years ago last winter.

Hangar, the photo art centre of Brussels, is reopening with the Ruud van Empel retrospective, a look at 25 years of work through 90 emblematic photographs. Reservations are recommended at to avoid waiting in line. In their small front space visitors will be limited to five at a time, and in the main space physical distancing rules will be in effect. Disinfectant spray will be available throughout the gallery. Entrance is free.

La Boverie
This Liège museum situated in the middle of an island park will reopen with an extended run of Hyperrealism Sculpture: Ceci n’est pas un corps. This show, which has been to Spain, Mexico, Australia and the Netherlands, is staying a little longer in Liège, until 2 August, so that we can enjoy it.

Jewish Museum of Belgium
The Jewish Museum has extended its show Horizontal Mattress until 21 June. After visiting this exhibition you will never look on mattresses in the same way.

Erasmus House and Garden
Erasmus House is reopening just in time to enjoy its intriguing and beautiful garden at the peak of its springtime phase. There is also a new rotation of manuscripts in the permanent collection and a temporary exhibition, Omnia Vanitas, starting 25 June. Visitors must reserve in advance by phone (02 521 13 83). The museum will be open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10.00-18.00. Included in the visit are the Anderlecht Beguinage and its garden.

Villa Empain
The villa is reopening on 19 May under its regular schedule but access will be on presale exclusively and will be limited to 25 visitors per time slot. The visit is unidirectional on the first floor. The respect of social distancing rules is compulsory and the wearing of a mask is recommended.  

Coudenberg Palace
The underground museum reopens with a slew of hygiene measures to keep everyone safe while they discover the ruins of what was once the most beautiful palace in Europe.

Opening later next week

ADAM – Brussels Design Museum
The museum is reopening on 21 May and entry will be free for the first four days. The museum will be open from Thursday to Sundays (and public holidays) with a maximum of 200 visitors at a time. Available for viewing will be the permanent collection as well as the two current temporary exhibitions, Punk Graphics and Standing Stone. You should visit alone or with members of the same household. The wearing of masks and observing the physical distancing rule will be required.

Horta Museum
The museum is reopening on 23 May, weekends only, until the end of June. On 2 July they will be inaugurating their new exhibition space The Designers’ Room and their new exhibitionn, Workshop Secrets: Art Nouveau Ornamentation, both of which were originally scheduled to open in March.

Written by Richard Harris