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Historically, Brussels has been home to some of the world’s greatest creative minds in music, literature and the fine arts. Today, it brings a vibrant cultural scene – around the capital, all year, and yours to discover.

The home of several classical orchestras

Classical music enthusiasts can enjoy the talents of several Brussels-based orchestras, including the Philharmonic, National Orchestra, Muffati baroque ensemble, Ictus Ensemble playing contemporary music.

A center of artistic creation and innovation

The Brussels culture has been touched by many world class artists and musicians: from the surrealists Magritte and Delvaux; Brussels based painters, Jean-Jacques Gailliard, James Ensor and Felicien Rops; Architect Victor Horta – leader of the Art Nouveau Movement.


This is also the hometown of Jacques Brel – the powerhouse of chanson francaise; of Hergé – creator of the Tintin cartoon character; and a center of Belgium’s Cartoon strip ‘BD’ movement – along with the Belgian artist, Peyo, creator of the Smurfs and many more. Connect with the works of these artists at one of the cultural centers, museums, or art spaces such as the brand new Kanal cultural complex that’s twinned with the Pompidou Center in Paris.

Dance, theater

The dozens of theatres cater to all tastes (mostly in French and Dutch) ranging from the National Opera, to the classics to contemporary and avant garde troupes. The world’s modern dance movement has been shaped over the past 50 years by choreographer, the late Maurice Béjart. The new modern dance generation was driven by innovators like choreographer, Anne Teresa De Keersmaecker, renowned worldwide, and based in Brussels over the years.

Do you know these guys? Brussels: part of global jazz heritage

Brussels also makes a solid contribution to jazz history and culture. World class innovators players such as guitarist and harmonica virtuoso Toots Theielemans – close collaborator with Quincy Jones and composer of Blusette, a jazz standard played by artists the world over; jazz guitar great, Philippe Catherine, and the Aka Moon trio – one of the world’s leading jazz outfits of the past 25 years; and European singer Arno, born in Flanders and based in Brussels.

Here’s another one: Roby Lakatos is among of the world’s top violinists, born in Hungary and educated at the Bela Bartok Conservatory of Budapest. He has made Brussels his home for the past three decades years. He performs here regularly with his ensemble, when he is not playing in concert venues worldwide – presenting his style that moves effortlessly between classical and contemporary music, gypsy airs and jazz.

Contemporary, folk, avant-garde

For contemporary music enthusiasts this is just scratching the surface. Brussels has dozens of innovative jazz, contemporary, avant garde, folk and chanson acts playing around the capital all year, in pubs, clubs and festivals. For a city of its size, Brussels boasts a rich community of music producers and labels that have been presenting wild and wonderful creations for the past three decades.

Several venues are the mainstay of cultural life in the capital. The Bozar concert halls and cultural center – linked to the fine arts academy – presents a world-class program every year, as does Flagey, the home of several ensembles, including the national orchestra, and a fine contemporary music scene and film program.

For culture enthusiasts, this is just the beginning. There are dozens of local and bigger cultural clubs and centers to discover, each with its unique style and programming.

Reine Elisabeth competition - the world’s top young talent comes to Brussels

The world’s top young classical music virtuoso pianists, violinists, singers and cellists have been flocking to Brussels since 1937 to compete in the prestigious Queen Elisabeth competition. This is a small taste of what Cultural Brussels has to offer. It’s all there for you to discover. Take a look and enjoy.