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Panorama Festival: Rediscover the Mont des Arts with seven themed routes offering surprise views

Mont des Arts - Visitbrussels - Jean-Paul Rémy
19:41 22/04/2022

If you think you already know Mont des Arts in Brussels, get ready to see the museum quarter in a new light thanks to the Panorama Festival, running from 23 April to 1 May.

For nine days only, seven themed routes offer new perspectives of the heritage area – already famed for possessing one of the city’s top panoramic vistas (main image).

It’s not only for tourists, the festival is aimed at a wide public, including families and visitors who might not be familiar with the big cultural institutions that populate the district.

Panoramic Viewer

The trails criss-cross interior and exterior places, such as museums, churches, squares and gardens. They’re dotted with around 50 super-sized panorama viewers with peep-holes for a bi-focal perspective of the current view and either a historic or futuristic one.

Themes include the panorama route, incorporating the vantage points of the Belvue Museum, Bozar, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts and the Royal Library (KBR). A sculpture route runs along Place Royale, the Sculpture Garden and the Place des Palais, while the music one goes from the Church of Saint-James on Coudenbergh to the Musical Instruments Museum.

Each route unites disparate elements. The angel trail, of particular interest to children, includes the screening of a movie, a visit to the Royal Museum of Fine Arts and tracking down sculpturs and paintings in two churches as well as mosaics in Central station.

Organised by the the non-profit Mont des Arts Association, the festival aims to promote the area in the run-up to Belgium’s bicentenary in 2030 with an event planned every two years.

Vice president Isabelle Vanhoonacker explains why the association decided to celebrate panoramas this year: “All these institutions have rooftops and hidden corners, all kinds of places that passers-by and tourists don’t know, so we would like them to discover them and a way of doing this is to create themed routes: history, music, angels, panoramas, hidden places, sculptures and the future.”

She insists that the festival consists of more than a series of strolls. “There are performances, workshops and other events; the two weekends are dedicated to activities for children and families,” she says. “Or if you want to do a guided tour there are a variety to choose from. Concerts are offered, for instance on the last day of the festival 1 May, there will be a young people’s choral concert in the church of Saint-Jacques-sur-Coudenberg.”

A €9.50 festival ticket provides access to one visit in each of the participating institutions. Admission is valid during the entire period of the festival, so you can visit Bozar one day and pop into the Musical Instruments Museum the next.

Panorama Festival
23 April to 1 May 1

Written by Sarah Crew and Richard Harris