One of the museums that might not be at the top of your list when you think of Brussels is the Horta Museum, although Victor Horta is the most important art nouveau architect and his buildings are well recognised in the streetscape of Brussels. Therefore, I thought it was a good idea and about time that I paid a visit to this museum of one of Brussels’ most famous art nouveau architects.
The museum is closed to the general public on Mondays and only accessible for school visits, but otherwise, you can visit this museum every weekday from 2 to 5.30 pm and in the weekend from 11 am till 5.30 pm both on Saturdays and Sundays. However, it is mandatory to book your time slot for a visit in advance. I booked my time slot on 14th July at 2.45 pm. Entrance costs €12 for adults and on presentation of my student card, the ticket costed me €6 only, which I thought was a good deal since the ticket also includes a folder with additional information about each room or area of the building besides the standard information that is already available within each room or area of the building. You are not allowed to take pictures or touch most items in the museum unfortunately and this for several reasons; e.g. to avoid any congestions in the sometimes narrow corridors of the building, or to preserve the furniture and different materials that are used.
Each time you enter one of the 24 rooms that can be visited in the museum, which is entirely in art nouveau style, you are immediately surprised by certain very clever and remarkable constructions that are applied by Horta and with which he succeeded to combine innovation, functionality and comfort. On top of that, he even succeeded to preserve the beauty of all elements and materials. One of the many examples of such ingenious constructions are the multiple doors (6) at the entrance of the house which could be used in such a way that it allowed the staff to enter the house and go straight to the kitchen without being noticed by visitors and at the same time it could allow the visitors to go straight to the reception room depending on how the doors are closed.
Moving on through the house, you come into Horta’s office where you can find out more about how Horta worked and also about the several other buildings that are of his work and located around Brussels. After visiting his office, you can take the stairs to the upper floors where you will find the private parts of the house and where you immediately find yourself in a lounge area where he received his visitors.
You pass through some really beautiful rooms such as the music room, where Horta organised music evenings for his guests, and the smoking room, in which they restored the walls to their original colour since the initial wallpaper had been damaged and lost over the years. From the porch, you can catch a glimpse of the garden, which is a true piece of green in the middle of the capital city.
I would definitely recommend a visit to the Horta museum. You can walk around freely in the building which allows you to discover every piece of detail at your own pace. You are also catapulted back in time 100 years and can really imagine or visualize how Victor Horta lived and designed his buildings. Only one minor comment would be that, for small children it can be a bit difficult not to touch everything, because some things really seem to come from another world and should obviously be kept intact.