Bruegel still in the spotlight in 2019

Brussels and Bruegel are inextricably linked. A variety of original exhibitions and activities are on offer throughout the year to celebrate the 450th anniversary of the great Flemish master’s death. This is the perfect occasion to (re)discover the monumental work of the greatest Flemish painter of the 16th century.

Brussels was a major source of inspiration for Bruegel; two-thirds of his works were painted there. His most influential sponsors lived at the Mont des Arts, very close to his home. Today, it houses an important part of Bruegel’s work: after the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Art History Museum) in Vienna, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium possesses the largest collection of paintings by Bruegel, and the Royal Library houses no fewer than 90 prints! All these treasures are on display in 2019. After his death, Bruegel was buried in the Chapel Church in the Marolles, where his epitaph can be found.

Brussels felt a duty to devote a number of events to this world-famous artist to mark the 450th anniversary of his death. Since January 2019, several organizations have been organizing guided visits based on Bruegel and all the sites linked to his history and his fascinating era.

More information on the themed year here.


Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, c.1555 (oil on canvas)


Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium are organizing a number of projects to celebrate the great Flemish master:

The permanent collection: visitors can (re)discover the second-largest permanent collection in the world of works by Pieter Bruegel the Elder in the Old Masters Museum.

‘Bruegel Unseen Masterpieces’ allows the public to discover the hidden secrets of the works of Pieter Bruegel the Elder. With a wide range of experiences accessible online and in situ, this original initiative allows visitors to immerse themselves in Bruegel’s paintings, accessing both the finest details of each painting and the knowledge of experts. The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium launched this event with the Google Cultural Institute, in view of the 450th anniversary of Bruegel’s death, in 2019. This innovative project brings together prestigious international museums, most of them European, around the figure of Bruegel. It is the expression of in-depth deliberations on the changes underway in the field of museum studies in the digital era.

Cultural and educational offer:

  • Cycle of conferences based around Bruegel the Elder
  • Visitor guide
  • Creative trail for children
  • Guided visits for all target groups (schools, cultural groups, families, vulnerable groups)
  • Workshops and internships

Date: 2019-2020
More information here.

Red Cloister Art Centre

Bernard Van Orley. Red Cloister and the Sonian Forest in the 16th century.

The Art Centre puts the spotlight on Bernard van Orley, an artist inseparable from 16th century Brussels heritage and the creator of the cartoons for The Hunts of Maximilian tapestry. Their detailed representations of buildings, including Red Cloister, and hunting grounds are part of the richness of the decor, and the vegetation and flora are a direct testimony of what the Sonian Forest was once like. The exhibition also presents several previously unseen archaeological items from this historic site.

Date: until 20/12/2019
More information here.

Palais de la Dynastie

Beyond Bruegel.

‘Beyond Bruegel’ is an innovative artistic experience in which new technologies and classical works by Bruegel come together and raise the artistic experience to a higher level. In the first part of the exhibition, a multimedia installation immerses visitors in the painter’s life and work. An animated 360-degree projection then takes visitors into the imaginary world of the master. They can admire and even walk through his works; visitors find themselves in the heart of Dull Gret’s army, on a ship at the foot of the Tower of Babel and more. Figures from Bruegel’s work come to life and enter the visitors’ imagination.

Date: until 31/01/2020
More information here.


Bruegel. A Poetic Experience. 

From 19 September 2019, to mark the 450th anniversary of the death of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, the Atomium presents an immersive, interactive exhibition on the famous Renaissance painter. Large reproductions of Bruegel’s works plunge visitors into the heart of his world. The ‘Bruegel, A Poetic Experience’ exhibition presents both known and unexpected facets of his work and personality.

Dates: 19 September 2019 to 20 September 2020

More information here.

Royal Library of Belgium

Bruegel in black and white. 

The Royal Library owns a complete and unrivaled collection of Bruegel’s work “on paper” (90 graphic works) and is preparing to take them out of its warehouse for a very special exhibition to mark this Bruegel year. The ‘Bruegel in Black and White’ exhibition promises to be a unique experience. The exhibition will take place at the Palace of Charles of Lorraine, one of the rare 18th century jewels in Brussels.

Dates: 15/10/2019 to 16/02/2020

More information here.

Halle Gate

Back to Bruegel – Experience the 16th Century

The legendary Halle Gate, a remnant of the medieval Brussels city wall, is opening up to the world of the painter Bruegel. Take a surprising leap into a virtual reality version of his internationally famous paintings. Four works by the master come to life and, just for a moment, immerse visitors in the day-to-day life of the time. This is a journey into the heart of the 16th century, with authentic treasures from the New World, arms and armor, musical instruments and other works from the Royal Museums of Art and History. At the top of the building, enjoy the magnificent panoramic views of Brussels and use the virtual telescopes to be transported back to the time of Bruegel.

Dates: 18/10/2019 to 18/10/2020
More information here.


Bruegel on the Grand Place

On the (miniature) Grand Place in Brussels, visitors meet the painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder, who is working on one of his masterpieces, “The Fall of the Rebel Angels”, a work in which the Archangel Michael is fighting six monsters.

Date: until 31/12/2019

More information here.



Winter Landscape with Skaters and Bird Trap, 1565 (oil on panel)

The Chapel Church

Flemish Master in situ 

The church is in the district where Bruegel lived and where his epitaph can be found. A copy of a work by Rubens adorns the epitaph. For this occasion, additional information and a video offer more information about the location, Bruegel and Rubens.
Date: until 30/09/2019
More information here.
Bruegel. The Great Escape. 

The works of Pieter Bruegel the Elder have never been so alive. Ten characters have escaped from the Flemish master’s paintings, 450 years after his death and have come together to pay tribute to the man who painted them.

Date: until the end of 2019

More information here.

Bruegel Cultural

CentreThe Dance of the Rebel Angels
The Dance of the Rebel Angels will lead visitors through the Marolles, following in the footsteps of Pieter Bruegel. To mark the 450th anniversary of the Master’s death, the company No Way Back, together with a Congolese delegation from the Goma Dance Festival and key dancers from the Royal Flemish Theatre (KVS), will give a new “urban” life to the painter’s works, remastered by the Farm Prod collective. In a combination of tradition and modernity, visitors will meet angels who will encourage them to join in the dance and become an integral part of the living painting!

– Friday 20 September from 7 pm to 9 pm
– Saturday 21 September from 2 pm to 7 pm – Sunday 22 September from 2 pm to 6 pm

More information here.

Guided Visits


Tower of Babel, 1563 (oil on wood panel)

Bruegel City Run (FR, NL or EN)

In the city center, find out Bruegel’s legacy while running at your own pace. Date: throughout 2019
More information here.

Bruegel and his Marolles

Come on this walking journey and discover the Marolles of the 16th century… and more specifically the protagonist of our artistic culture: Bruegel.
Pieter Bruegel, who then lived in Antwerp, fell in love with the daughter of his master, Pieter Coecke van Aelst. Before the marriage could take place, his future mother-in-law stipulated that the couple must live in Brussels. A few months after their engagement, their union was made official at the Church of Our Lady of the Chapel in the Marolles.

Bruegel, who lived through troubled times due to the unstable political and religious situation, was a contemporary of Charles V, his son and successor Philippe II and the Duke of Alba, and witnessed the execution of the Counts of Egmont and Hornes.
Free With the support of the Brussels-Capital Region

FR/EN on even Wednesdays – FR/NL on odd Wednesdays

More information here.

Bruegel the Elder and the secret of the two keys (FR)

Exploration of the works of Bruegel and his fascinating world, full of hollow trees, athanors, proverbs, dances, blind people and monkeys, plunging visitors into 16th century Brussels, where he lived and painted his most magnificent works. A true alchemist, did he know the secret of the two keys?

Date: Sunday 8 September 2019
More information here.

Walk through a Bruegel painting (FR)

A bucolic 14 km walk through the Pede Valley, the Vogelenzang reserve and a corner of the Pajottenland where Pieter Bruegel often set up his easel. His paintings will reveal the evolution of the landscape: wooded countryside, damp meadows, marshes, quiet paths adorned with pollarded willows and garden towns – La Roue and Bon Air – create a charming scene…

Date: Sunday 13 October 2019
More information here.

Pierewaaien met Bruegel (NL)

The route goes from the upper city to the lower city or from the ducal site to the centre of Brussels. The focus is on the civilisation process and highlights the changes in eating habits, sleep and dress in the time of Bruegel and the impact of etiquette on human behaviour. This context is reflected in Bruegel’s work. The route is included in the publication “Pierewaaien met Bruegel”, interspersed with humorous drawings by Pieter Fannes, who completely immersed himself in the painter’s world.

Date: Saturday 16 November 2019

More information here.

The World of Bruegel in Black and White

Everyone knows Bruegel as an internationally famous painter, but he is also known for his engravings. In 2019, visitors are invited to take a closer look at Bruegel’s engravings at the Royal Library of Belgium (KBR), in the ‘The World of Bruegel in Black and White’ exhibition, accompanied by a guide.

Date: Saturday 23 November 2019

More information here.

Wall Frescoes

fresque – fresco Rue Haute – Hoogstraat © – Jean-Paul Remy – 2019

Bruegel Street Art Route, in collaboration with the Brussels Farm Prod collective and with the support of the City of Brussels, has developed a Street Art ROUTE in the heart of the capital that pays tribute to the great Flemish Master Pieter Bruegel. As many as 11 frescoes now adorn several facades in the Marolles district. This is a wonderful opportunity to see Bruegel in a different light.

More information here.