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Magritte Museum reopens after six months of renovations

09:19 10/10/2023

The Magritte Museum, considered the flagship of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, has reopened its doors after six months of renovation work.

Visitors will find that the museum dedicated to the Belgian artist René Magritte retains its intimate atmosphere even after the renovation works, which took a total of six months at a cost of some €450,000, borne entirely by the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium.

They included renovating, repairing and sanding parquet floors, installing LED lighting everywhere and painting the walls.

“We wanted to refresh the museum so as to preserve our precious Magritte collection as well as possible,” said Sara Lammens, director general of the Royal Museums.

“We also wanted to make a commitment to energy efficiency by renovating all the lighting, which is now 100% LED. The aim of the renovation was additionally to optimise the visitor reception area to ensure an optimal visitor experience.”

The hanging system for the museum’s paintings and the multimedia system were also renewed, and the museum installed new cameras to further scale up security.

The museum's most eye-catching novelty is on the roof of the neoclassical Hotel Altenloh, which has housed the Magritte Museum since 2009. A giant green apple has been placed on the roof to celebrate Magritte’s 125th birthday.

“The recurring symbol that Magritte held dear has appeared as if by magic on the roof of the museum – a nod to the creative genius of the world's most famous painter,” the museum said in a statement.

Some 29 new works by the master painter are also currently on loan and on display at the museum.

“The Magritte Museum has become an essential part of the Belgian museum landscape,” said Belgian secretary of state Thomas Dermine, who attended the reopening.

“An institution, even a very popular one, should never live on its achievements. After four million visitors, we had to renovate the premises to provide a better welcome for the public, to use more energy-efficient techniques, and to ensure that the works of the Belgian painter were even better preserved and showcased.”

Photo: James Arthur Gekeire/Belga

Written by Helen Lyons