6 Wheelchair Accessible Things to Do in Brussels

After participating in the Destinations for All World Summit on Accessible Tourism in October 2018, I had the chance to take part in two days of guided tours around Brussels. The purpose of these intense days was to find out more about the accessibility of Brussels and its tourist attractions. Despite the fact that the charming historical city can be challenging for wheelchair users in many areas, there are definitely a lot of accessible places to discover!

 

So here is a list of 6 great wheelchair-accessible things to do in Brussels as well as tips of how to get around and where to stay!

 

1. Grand Place 

Grand Place | Wheelchair accessible Brussels | Little Miss Turtle

The Grand Place with the Town Hall

 

Let’s begin with the most famous landmark of Brussels – the Grand Place. The impressive central square is surrounded by beautiful, historical buildings like the Town Hall and the King’s House (also Breadhouse). As you can see in the picture, there is cobblestone everywhere. It surely is a bumpy ride, but you definitely won’t regret visiting the picturesque Grand Place, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998.

 

2. Manneken Pis

Manneken Pis Brussels | Example of costumes | Little Miss Turtle | Accessible Travel Blog

Manneken Pis Brussels – Example of costumes

 

It is just a very short stroll from Grand Place to the famous Manneken Pis sculpture (about 300 m). The very small bronze sculpture of a naked little boy urinating into the fountain’s basin is one of the most visited tourist sights of Brussels. To tell you the truth, I was pretty astonished when I saw how small the sculpture actually is. We were lucky to see the Manneken Pis wearing a suit. Manneken Pis has a wardrobe of more than 900 costumes, and the statue is dressed up several times per week. Once the little Manneken Pis was even sitting in a wheelchair as a dedication to the Belgian Paralympic Committee. Most of the costumes can be seen at the Garderobe Manneken Pis Museum, which is unfortunately not wheelchair-accessible (10/2018).

 

3. Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium – Place Royale

Accessible main entrance of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels | Little Miss Turtle

Accessible main entrance of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels

 

Place Royale in Brussels | Little Miss Turtle

Place Royale in Brussels

 

The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium is a collection of six museums in total. All museums except for the Meunier Museum and the Wirtz Museum are located around Place Royale. The main entrance to the Magritte Museum and Fin-de-siècle Museum is wheelchair-accessible. Wheelchair users who would like to visit the Old Masters Museum and/or the Modern Museum have to use the accessible entrance located at Rue de la Régence, 1A (just around the corner). A wheelchair symbol invites you to ring the bell. The museums are fully wheelchair-accessible. As part of the museum’s initiative “Made to Measure Museum” trained staff also offers guided tours in sign language as well as tours for visually impaired visitors (so far in French and Dutch only).

 

Rubens Assumption of the Virgin Mary | Accessible Old Masters Museum in Brussels | Little Miss Turtle | Accessible Travel Blog

The Assumption of the Virgin Mary by Peter Paul Rubens in the Old Masters Museum

4. Museum of Natural Sciences

Accessible Museum of Natural Sciences Brussels | Little Miss Turtle | Accessible Travel Blog

Accessible Museum of Natural Sciences Brussels

 

The Museum of Natural Sciences, sometimes also referred to as the Dino Museum, has a lot to offer for science-interested visitors. It is true that the dinosaur collection is stunning consisting of 30 almost complete Iguanodon skeletons. The museum is entirely wheelchair-accessible thanks to a platform lift, ramps, elevators, and display tables on a good height level for wheelchair users. I especially loved the incredible Gallery of Humankind.

 

Iguanodon skeleton at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Brussels | Little Miss Turtle | Accessible Travel Blog

Iguanodon skeleton at the wheelchair-accessible Museum of Natural Sciences in Brussels

 

The Gallery of Humankind at the Museum of Natural Sciences Brussels | Little Miss Turtle | Accessible Travel Blog

The Gallery of Humankind – Accessible display table

 

5. House of European History

Together with John from WheelchairTravel.org in Park Leopold in Brussels | Little Miss Turtle | Accessible Travel Blog

Together with John from WheelchairTravel.org in Park Leopold in Brussels

 

Just a short stroll downhill leads to the House of European History in Park Leopold located in the European Quarter. The tour takes you through an outline of European history. The renovated building is fully wheelchair-accessible, and there is no entrance fee. All visitors have to pass a security screening upon entering the building. A regular visit takes an average time of 90 minutes, but you could spend way more time in the accessible House of European History.

 

Next to the artwork The Vortex in the House of European History in Brussels | Little Miss Turtle | Accessible Travel Blog

Next to the artwork ‘The Vortex’ in the House of European History in Brussels

 

Wheelchair entrance to the House of European History in Brussels | Little Miss Turtle | Accessible Travel Blog

Wheelchair entrance to the House of European History

 

Accessible bathroom with changing table at the House of European History in Brussels | Little Miss Turtle | Accessible Travel Blog

Accessible bathroom with changing table at the House of European History

 

6. Day trip to Louvain-La-Neuve

Another great thing to do is to spend a day at Louvain-La-Neuve (French for New Leuven) about 30 km southeast of Brussels. Louvain-La-Neuve is an entirely pedestrian city and home to the University of Louvain. You won’t find cars inside the city itself. The student city was designed to be accessible for everyone, and I agree that the city is pretty wheelchair-accessible. However, some areas of Louvain-La-Neuve are quite steep. While power wheelchair users will be okay, manual wheelchair users might struggle. At Louvain-La-Neuve you can explore the wheelchair-accessible Hergé Museum and the Musée Universitaire de Louvain (Musée L). The Hergé Museum is dedicated to the life of the Belgian artist, Hergé, the creator of the comic strips ‘The Adventures of Tintin and Snowy.’

 

Musée L Louvain-La-Neuve | Little Miss Turtle | Accessible Travel Blog

Wheelchair-accessible Musée L in Louvain-La-Neuve

 

Expo Musée L Louvain-La-Neuve | Little Miss Turtle | Accessible Travel Blog

Expo at Musée L in Louvain-La-Neuve

 

Musée Hergé Louvain-La-Neuve | Little Miss Turtle | Accessible Travel Blog

Hergé Museum in Louvain-La-Neuve

 

Wheelchair-accessible Musée Hergé Louvain-La-Neuve | Little Miss Turtle | Accessible Travel Blog

Wheelchair-accessible way through the Hergé Museum

 

Wheelchair-accessible Taxi in Brussels | Taxi Verts

A good way for wheelchair users to get around Brussels is by taxi. During my stay, I tested the accessible taxi fleet of the company Taxi Verts. The accessible taxis are equipped with a ramp and a strap system to prevent the wheelchair from moving. One of the taxis also had a swing-away head and backrest which made me feel very safe in my manual wheelchair. I would consider the taxi prices as rather high. The rate for the accessible taxis is 1.70 EUR per km. I didn’t use the bus system, but I learned that most of Brussel’s buses have a ramp for wheelchair users.

 

Wheelchair-accessible taxi in Brussels | Little Miss Turtle

Wheelchair-accessible taxi of Taxi Verts in Brussels

Wheelchair-accessible Hotel Tip

I stayed at the wheelchair-accessible hotel Aloft Schuman in the European Quarter of Brussels. The hotel offers several wheelchair-accessible rooms with roll-in showers. The in-room accessibility is quite good, but the space between the sink and the room separator might be a bit too narrow for long power wheelchairs. Also, wheelchair-users have to use a platform lift to get to the breakfast buffet. The staff was friendly and helpful, and I enjoyed our stay at the Aloft Schuman in Brussels.

 

 

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