Musées d'extrême orient view from parc

©Analia Glogowski/Lonely Planet

Musées d’Extrême-Orient


Closed at the time of writing for restoration, so check in advance before visiting. A pair of East Asian pagodas form the key attractions here. Both are Léopold II leftovers, built in 1905 after the king had seen similar towers at the 1890 Paris World’s Fair. The vermilion Tour Japonaise is fronted by a Japanese pavilion with art nouveau flourishes, such as in the stained-glass windows. Inside the glittering Pavillon Chinois, the decor swings from gilded belle époque to Khajuraho Indian.

Both pagodas display priceless Asian decorative arts, while an easily overlooked Japanese art museum shows off swords, samurai armour and ukiyo-e painting. Stretching west to the Atomium, the expansive Parc de Laeken is dotted with magnolia and mature chestnut trees.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Brussels attractions

1. Pavillon Chinois

0.03 MILES

The Pavillon Chinois is a Léopold II leftover, built after he saw similar at the 1890 Paris World's Fair. It is a gloriously glittering structure and…

2. Tour Japonaise

0.08 MILES

On the edge of the Domaine Royal, Tour Japonaise is used for temporary Japanese art exhibitions. Closed for restoration at the time of writing.

3. Royal Greenhouses

0.22 MILES

The enormous Serres Royales were built by Alphonse Balat during Léopold II's reign. Fuchsias and all sorts of tropical species thrive inside, and Belgians…

4. Villa Belvédère

0.31 MILES

A residence of the Belgian royal family, the eighteenth-century villa is not open to the public.

5. Domaine Royal

0.37 MILES

The Domain Royale contains a trio of palace-villas that are home to Belgium’s ruling family. All are out of bounds to tourists, but for two or three weeks…

6. Parc de Laeken

0.39 MILES

The Parc de Laeken starts opposite the Domaine Royal and stretches to the Atomium. Dotted with chestnut and magnolia trees, its focal point is Léopold I's…

7. Château Royal de Laeken

0.52 MILES

The official residence of the Belgian royal family, this grandly symmetrical palace was acquired by Napoleon for Josephine. It is not open to the public.

8. Château Stuyvenberg

0.63 MILES

Built in 1725, this chateau is a residence of the Belgian royal family and has been used to house visiting dignitaries. It is not open to the public.