Travel Leisure

Belgian Beer World: A New Haven for Beer Aficionados

In the heart of Brussels, a new cultural gem has made its debut. The Belgian Beer World museum, dedicated to celebrating Belgium’s beer-making heritage, has found its home in the iconic neoclassical Brussels Stock Exchange building. This exciting addition adds a flavorful dimension to the city’s cultural offerings, drawing beer enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

From Historic Elegance to Modern Marvel

The museum’s grand inauguration was a spectacular affair. It transformed Place de la Bourse, the square adjacent to the stock exchange, into a lively celebration. The event featured beatboxing, breakdancing, acrobatics, and other captivating entertainments, creating an atmosphere of festivity that extended beyond the museum’s walls.

Museum officials proudly proclaimed, “The Brussels Stock Exchange, from its historical underground chambers to its breathtaking Skybar on the rooftop, has undergone a comprehensive overhaul and rejuvenation.” This transformation breathes new life into the stately building, turning it into a modern hub for cultural exploration and enjoyment.

An Interactive Beer Center

With an ambitious goal of attracting approximately 400,000 visitors annually, the museum intends to become a prominent cultural destination. It promises to be a dynamic addition to Brussels’ cultural landscape, offering an enriching experience to all who visit.

At the heart of the museum, the magnificent central hall has been reborn as a vibrant space where the people of Brussels can congregate, socialize, and unwind. Beyond the architectural grandeur, the upper stories house the world’s largest interactive beer center – the remarkable Belgian Beer World. This interactive center promises to be an immersive experience, offering visitors a deeper understanding of the world of Belgian beer.

A Virtual Bartender’s Delight

Krishan Maudgal, the head of the Belgian Brewers Association, contributed significantly to the museum’s development. He expressed his enthusiasm for the museum’s showstopper – a virtual bartender. This digital guide assists visitors in exploring the vast array of colors and flavors that characterize Belgian beer. These characteristics make the museum experience not only informative but also interactive and engaging.

Opening Hours and Admission

The museum is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the exception of New Year’s Day. Adult admission is priced at a reasonable 17€, or approximately $18, while access to the splendid building itself is free of charge. This makes it an appealing destination for both locals and tourists.

A Historic Edifice

Originally designed by Belgian architect Léon-Pierre Suys between 1868 and 1873, the building’s construction required the demolition of several breweries along the Senne River’s banks. The Brussels Stock Exchange operated at this site until 1996, marking an era of financial history at the heart of the city.

Today, following an extensive €90 million ($96.5 million) renovation, the larger site, known as The Bourse, has been reimagined. It offers more than just a museum experience. It includes a restaurant, co-working spaces, a rooftop bar, showers, restrooms, and lockers, enhancing the visitor experience. The museum’s surroundings are as inviting as its contents.

Beneath the Surface

For history enthusiasts, the site conceals an archaeological treasure beneath its surface. Here, the remains of a 13th-century Franciscan convent still exist. The site is also the resting place of Gambrinus, the legendary king associated with the invention of beer. It’s a fascinating journey through history for the guests.

A Balanced Tradition

Geert Van Lierde, a consultant for the museum’s exhibits, eloquently captures the essence of Belgian brewing tradition, stating, “In Belgium, we have always upheld the tradition of crafting beers that strike a perfect balance between flavor, taste, and aftertaste.” It reflects the cultural richness and diversity of Belgian beer and the country’s ability to find harmony in its brewing history.

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