Record-breaking year for Brussels museums with nearly 5 million visitors
Museums in Brussels attracted 4,980,000 visitors last year. This is an increase of 20 per cent compared to 2022 and a slight increase compared to the previous record year of 2019. The opening and reopening of several museums - such as the renovated Magritte Museum - contributed to the increased interest.
Every month in 2023 exceeded the number of visitors for the same month in previous years. "There were clear peaks in spring, summer and at the end of the year," says umbrella organisation Brussels Museums. Museums in the capital not only saw an increase in domestic visitors but also welcomed a significant number of foreign tourists.
In October, the Magritte Museum fully reopened after six months of renovation, just in time for the 125th anniversary of the surrealist painter's birth. The art nouveua Maison Hannon and Hotel van Eetvelde also reopened.
Art Nouveau Year
Another factor is that 2023 was dominated by Art Nouveau. "The Art Nouveau Year in Brussels was a resounding success," says Brussels Museums. Sales of the Art Nouveau Pass tripled compared to 2022, and this resulted in more than 13,300 visits to exhibitions. Sales of the Brussels Card tourism pass also exceeded expectations: 19,742 were sold, compared with 18,364 passes in 2022.
"The Art Nouveau Year in Brussels was a resounding success"
Brussels Museums expects the trend to continue next year. "2024 promises to be an equally exciting year, as Brussels and the Brussels museums will celebrate the Belgian presidency of the Council of the European Union and the centenary of surrealism," the organisation said in a press release.
The Brussels Museums federation unites 120 museums in the capital and has been promoting their accessibility for 25 years. It does this, among other things, by organising Museum Night Fever and issuing the Brussels Card.
The Horta Museum in Saint-Gilles, Brussels © BELGA PHOTO THIERRY ROGE