Last week, I took a day just to be a tourist. I wanted to explore part of the city, but being the geek that I am, I really wanted to know a little about the city’s history. After some research, I decided to visit the Museum of the City of Brussels (Musée de la Ville de Bruxelles) in the heart of the Grand Place.
It is not the greatest museum in the city but it is a good place to shelter from the rain. However, if you are interested in the architecture of the city then it is the place for you.
Well, there was some fun stuff.
On the top floor of the museum, there are experts restoring an immense tapestry of 3.40 m x 3.80 m, dating back to the 16th century known as the Pieter Coecke tapestry cartoon: the Martyrdom of St. Paul. You can explore the history of this piece as well as watching the restorers at work. I just stood there, peering through the perspex glass, staring at them work. It does seem like magic, putting something back together, that large and delicate – a giant jigsaw.
I spent most of my time watching two fantastic short documentaries on Manneken Pis. The little boy peeing who adorns all postcards. A fascinating watch. I do not want to bore you with the history, I’ll save that for when you visit. But I did find his wardrobe. On National Day, Manneken Pis is dressed up for the special occasion. He has over 700 outfits. I was thrilled when I discovered that the museum housed his capsule wardrobe.
Beekeeper, Football Player, Astronaut…
The costumes are gifts from Belgian organisations and around the world.
Belgium, France, India and Austria.
I think he has a bigger wardrobe than mine.
The best thing about the room – it almost feels like a secret – is hidden at the back, it is the real boy. That’s right. The original statue is actually kept locked away in this museum rather than on the street. The not so hidden secret has clearly worked as the fake is safe and sound – see below!
… and here he is busy at work, keeping the flowers fresh.
Can you believe how small he is?