Fondation Brel facade

©Analia Glogowski/Lonely Planet

Fondation Jacques Brel


Chansonnier Jacques Brel (1929–78) made his debut in 1952 at a cabaret in his native Belgium and shot to fame in Paris, where he was a contemporary of Édith Piaf and co, though his songs continued to hark back to the bleak ‘flat land’ of his native country. At the time of writing, the museum was being redeveloped, with the audio walking tour still available.

This dedicated archive centre, set up by his daughter, contains more than 100 hours of footage and another 100 of audio recordings, plus thousands of photographs and articles.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Brussels attractions

2. Manneken Pis


Rue Charles Buls – Brussels’ most unashamedly touristy shopping street, lined with chocolate and trinket shops – leads the hordes three blocks from the…

3. Musée Mode & Dentelle

0.11 MILES

Lace making has been one of Flanders’ finest crafts since the 16th century. While kloskant (bobbin lace) originated in Bruges, naaldkant (needlepoint lace…

4. Tintin

0.11 MILES

This mural features the most famous of Belgium's fictional characters.

5. Statue of Everard 't Serclaes

0.14 MILES

A 1902 statue of city hero Everard ’t Serclaes depicts his reclining corpse. A fairly contemporary ‘tradition’ claims that rubbing the statue will bring…

6. Musée de la Brasserie

0.14 MILES

Brussels’ brewery museum is authentic in the sense that it occupies the basement of the brewers’ guildhall and has some 18th-century brewing equipment…

7. Brewery Museum

0.14 MILES

Entry includes a beer supped amid barrels and delightfully antiquated wooden brewers’ tools: with the BrusselsCard it’s a great opportunity for a free…

8. L’Étoile

0.15 MILES

The square’s smallest building, surmounted by a star, is where city hero Everard ’t Serclaes died in 1388. A fairly contemporary ‘tradition’ claims you’ll…