Keeping a Music Lover Occupied in Brussels

When I planned my boyfriend’s birthday weekend last year, I picked Brussels as our destination for the following reasons:

– he is obsessed with chocolate. obsessed.
– he is equally addicted to french fries.
– the trend continues with beer.
– I assumed he would be just as partial to Belgian waffles…I mean, who isn’t?!
– I can’t NOT order moules frites when I see them on a menu (yeah, this is selfish, but I care not).

So there you go.

Bier tempel, Brussels

What I didn’t realise was that Brussels was a haven for him for another epic reason – music.

Not only did we happen to be in Brussels during the Brussels Jazz Marathon, we also hit up the Musical Instrument Museum, which would easily fascinate even the most un-musical of people.

Jammin at the Brussels Jazz Festival

The Jazz Marathon was wonderful. The Grand Place, one of Europe’s most luscious city squares, was bustling with flower arrangements, people, and a giant stage that played jazz from afternoon to the early, early hours of the morn. Best of all – free. The whole thing was free. It was one of the most lovely feelings, wandering back through the square after beer tasting at a bar, listening to the magical jazz, seeing everyone relaxed and in time with the music, bouncing along, dancing and smiling. I loved it, and would go back again for the Jazz Marathon any chance I get.

Brussels Musical Instrument Museum

The Musical Instrument Museum was a feast for the eyes and ears of anyone who simply listens to music, let alone plays an instrument. This museum actually had everything, from every era. Pianos and harpsichords dating back to Mozart’s days, accordians and drum sets of all shapes and sizes, saxes, clarinets, flutes, and guitars out the ying yang. There were also really interesting native instruments from cultures the world over, and amazing interactive displays of music spanning decades and nations.

Brussels Musical Instrument Museum

I started playing piano at age six, quitting lessons at eighteen, played the flute from about eleven to eighteen, and dabbled in the clarinet and a few others along the way. But my musical upbringing is nothing compared to my bf’s, the perfect-pitch guitar prodigy who can do what I envy – learn a piece by ear and play it almost immediately. Unfair, non?

Naturally, he loved MIM. I mean, I loved MIM, so you can only imagine what that place did for him.

If you’re going to Brussels, you must check out MIM. It’s one of the most unique, yet mainstream and universally-appealing museums I’ve ever visited. Even if you’re not a music aficionado, you’ll be totally enraptured by the whimsy and passion of centuries of music and instruments. If you’re a music fiend – eat your heart out.

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