Want to see Brussels from a (literally) completely different angle? And you are not afraid of occasionally running into a rat? Then why don’t you pay a visit to the Sewer Museum and learn everything about the history and infrastructure of the sewage system of the Belgian capital!
Brussels has actually had a sewage system since the 17th century. But in the beginning it was far from perfect; the network was incomplete and inhabitants of the city kept on throwing garbage into the river Senne. As you can imagine, this led to a lot of pollution and in the 19th century drastic measures had to be taken: the vaulting of the Senne in the centre of Brussels. This explains why you can’t see any river (anymore) in the heart of the Belgian capital.
The museum also pays a lot of attention to the infrastructure of the sewers in Brussels. Building this system must not have been an easy task, given the presence of traffic tunnels and the metro and pre-metro system. In the 19th century, the sewer network was about 45 kilometres long, nowadays it’s more than 350 kilometres! In the museum, you can also learn everything about the installations such as the pumps, pumping stations, siphons and so on.
The Sewer Museum is not located in the heart of Brussels. The exact address is:
Pavilions d’Octroi – Porte d’Anderlecht
You can come here by public transport: take tram 51 or 82 or bus 46 and get off at the stop Porte d’Anderlecht. You can also come by car, of course, because there is parking space in the area. Just a word of warning: this is not exactly the fanciest neighbourhood of Brussels, so be really careful with your valuables. Anyway, at your arrival at the Porte d’Anderlecht, you will see 2 pavilions: one is the entrance and the other one is the exit of the museum. Finally, if you want to know all about the entrance fees, the guided tours, activities for children and the like, better check the official website of the Sewer Museum.
The part of the museum that I liked the most was the small fraction of the sewer system that you can visit. It’s like being in a completely different world. The personnel in the museum is very friendly and most of them know French, Dutch and English. Another fun part of the Sewer Museum is the gift shop; don’t hurry or you will miss the hilarious collection of rat dolls. All in all, my visit to this museum was a very pleasant one. Moreover, according to some other visitors, the Sewer Museum in Brussels is more interesting and more fun than the one in Paris.