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Underwear Museum back in Brussels ahead of international tour

18:48 03/05/2021

One of Belgium’s quirkiest claims to fame, the Underwear Museum, is going on an international tour following a stop in Brussels. The collection of underwear worn by famous Belgians will be on show in the Hôte Gallery on Rue Haute for the entire month of May. Entry is free.

The recent history of the Underwear Museum is a little murky, but it was definitely on the first floor of the famous Dolle Mol counter-culture pub from 2009 until 2015, when the pub closed down. It then moved to Lessines, but was recently housed in the contemporary art museum in Durbuy.

Its owner, artist Jan Bucquoy, has now announced that his beloved collection is going on tour, first to Brussels, then to Amsterdam, London, Paris and New York. Bucquoy’s collection is made up of underwear worn – at least once – by famous and semi-famous Belgians, such as singer Axelle Red, actor Stany Crets, former minister (now European commissioner) Didier Reynders and former mayor of Brussels Yvan Mayeur. (Mayeur’s underpants were once famously stolen, but returned a few days later, much to everyone’s relief.)

Every pair of underwear has been donated by the wearer, is guaranteed to have been washed, and comes with a certificate of authenticity. They are donated with the understanding that the original wearer can always ask for them back.

The celebrity underwear are framed, while more anonymous underwear are part of collages that show them atop famous people’s heads (the king, Muammar Gaddafi, Trump), while still others are part of artistic installations.

Bucquoy, something of an anarchist, says that his collection is meant to show that we are all equal. Once you remove all of the chic trappings of the rich, you’ll find their underwear is much like everyone else’s.


Written by Lisa Bradshaw