Brussels Jubelpark / Parc du Cinquantenaire

A sometimes forgotten museum in Brussels.

 

In the heart of Brussels is the famous Parc du Cinquantenaire, this park was cnstructed for the 1880 national exhibition to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Belgian independence, there is a mosque, sportsgrounds and walking trails but the dominating structure is the arch and the palace. The building houses 2 large museums, one is the automobile museum with a large collection of classic and modern cars but the one that often gets forgotten is the one on the other side, I am talking about the Military & history museum.

 

This museum offers more than you would think, it starts with a great collection of the Belgian military history from the very beginnings, the Napoleonic era and up to World War 1, there is a separate exhibition about Belgium in World War 1 and World War 2 with some amazing setups. There is another smaller but interesting part about Russia and the there are some very impressive parts, the first one is a collection of tanks and an exhibition about the Belgian navy from its humble beginnings to the present day. But the most impressive collection must be the Aviation hall where you can find Seaking and Sikorsky S58 Helicopters next to WW2 fighters, small to pretty large historic aircraft both civil and military, the crown of the Aviation collection must be the Caravelle that was given to the museum by Sabena airlines a long time ago, this passenger jet is so large that they mounted it on high poles to oversee the rest of the collection. In this area there is a small cafe where you can rest for a while with a drink and a small snack, next to it is another small side-exhibition about the Belgian South Pole explorers troughout history with a highlight on the Belgica, the ship that carried the first Belgian Antarctica Expedition and one of the few ships of its time that actually survived a winter in Antarctica and returned home.

 

All in all, this museum and the park will give you a reason to spend the best part of the day in the area, the parking is free of charge and you can get to the European quarter of Brussels very easily to find some restaurants and bars whenever you start to get hungry.