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Comics are considered the ninth art here in Belgium. This is, without doubt, precisely the reason why this museum is considered so important, so do not forget to pass by such a unique and marvellous place.
The splendid art nouveau building, which was constructed by the architect Victor Horta between 1903 and 1906, was originally intended to be used as the warehouses of Charles Waucquez, a textile wholesaler. In fact, of all the buildings that formed the series of large warehouses, this is the only one that is still standing.
However, even this small work of architectural art was going to be demolished. The reason it was not knocked down was because the architects won over public support for the idea of housing this Museum of Comic Strip Art here. Thus, in 1989, the French Cultural Commission of Brussels saved it from demolition and reopened it as the area devoted to comics that it is today.
Immediately upon entering, your attention will be captured by the impressive public square-like foyer that is lit by an iron and granite street lamp and has a series of stained glass windows, linked with a wrought iron framework. Next to the hall stairway, you will also encounter the famous red and white rocket in which Tintin and Snowy accomplished their mission of reaching the moon. Tintin has, in fact, undoubtedly been the most famous Belgian comic character since his creator, Hergé, introduced him in 1929, when he published Tintin’s first adventures in a children’s newspaper.
The different exhibitions you will find in this museum are distributed over three floors. The first you will see, on the mezzanine floor, shows each phase involved in the production of a comic: script, drawing, colouring, printing and distribution.
Afterwards, on the first floor, you can take a turn around the Museum of the Imaginary, which immerses visitors in the world of comics through the use of models and true scale vignettes. Noteworthy comic heroes on exhibition are Tintín, of course, and Spirou, Lucky Luke and the Smurfs.
The last floor, for its part, is home to the Museum of the Modern Comic, where you can see how Belgian comics evolved from 1960 to the nineteen-nineties.
As well as all this, do not forget to visit the special exhibition on the life of the architect Victor Horta or the Comic Library, where adults and children alike can enjoy themselves reading or having a look at the large number of cartoon strips to be found there.
Lastly, but by no means less important, remember that the building also contains the Brasserie Horta, which is decorated with slender columns and visible beams. This charming restaurant serves the best Belgian dishes and is surrounded by marvellous art nouveau decoration.
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