Royal Museums of Art and History – Art & History Museum and Pavilion of Human Passions

A. de Ville de Goyet ©

The Cinquantenaire/Jubelpark site and its buildings were constructed to commemorate Belgium's 50th anniversary in 1880. The right wing, which burnt down and was rebuilt in the 1950s, is home to the Royal Museums of Art and History, with its rich collections of world art objects from prehistory to the 20th century. Since 2017, it has showcased the complete furnishings of the Wolfers jewellery shop, formerly located in Rue d'Arenberg/Arenbergstraat. The windows and display cases designed by Victor Horta can be seen in their original layout, complete with the original frames. The meticulously restored Cuban mahogany furniture, bronze ornaments and interior linings form a unique and integrated whole. Visitors can admire the harmony created by the reddish brown of the precious wood combined with the dark green of the velvet, the soft mauve of the walls and the golden accents of the ironwork. The colour palette reflects the Parisian influence, while the gentler, more discreet lines look ahead to Art Deco. Glassware, ceramics, ivories and jewellery have found an Art Nouveau showcase worthy of their designers, and many of Philippe Wolfers' own creations can be seen here in all their refinement.

Guided tours will take in the Horta-Wolfers Gallery (Wolfers Frères shop) and the Art & History Museum's Art Nouveau collection.

The Parc du Cinquantenaire/Jubelpark is home to a pavilion designed by Victor Horta in the form of a classically-inspired tempietto. Standing on a small grassy knoll, the building was erected by the State between 1891 and 1897 to house a monumental work by sculptor Jef Lambeaux. The work provoked an outcry in the Catholic press, but the project went ahead nonetheless. The single room inside, with its mosaic-covered floor and walls clad in white Euville stone and yellow Sienna marble panels, provides the setting for an enormous bas-relief and haut-relief measuring 12 x 8 metres, carved out of 17 blocks of Carrara marble. It depicts the stages of human life, its pleasures and adversities, dominated by the figure of death surmounting that of Christ on the cross, in the form of expressive and dynamic allegorical scenes. (Listed 18/11/1976)

Trilingual guides, and information panels supplied by the Belgian Buildings Agency, will present the Pavilion and its restoration.

Practical information

Sat. & Sun. 10:30 to 16:00 (Pavilion of Human Passions) and 10:15 to 16:15 (guided tours)

Parc du Cinquantenaire/Jubelpark 10 – Brussels-Extensions

Reservation only for guided tours