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Beer aficionados visiting Brussels have yet another opportunity to quench their thirst.
This month saw the Bourse open its doors, with the long-standing structure offering 12,000 square meters of renovated space to the public that are spread over five floors, three of which are free of charge and two which have fees: Bruxella 1238 and Belgian Beer World.
Belgian Beer World is an interactive museum that tells the story of brewing in Belgium, tracing the history of Belgian beer from the Middle Ages to the present, with the country’s brewing industry weathering revolutions and wars.
It also looks at the diversity that surrounds Belgian beer, and around 100 Belgian brewers are involved in Belgian Beer World.
“Belgium, the land of beer? That’s for sure! Belgium boasts more brands of beer than any other country in the world. And another unique feature: Belgian beer culture has UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage status,” Belgian Beer World says. “Belgian beer quite simply holds an extraordinary mix of influences, creativity and… Belgitude. Discover what makes Belgian beer so special at Belgian Beer World.
“Belgian Beer World is more than just heritage. It is a place for discovery, surprise and pleasure,” the attraction adds of the “Belgian beer temple.”
“It’s a great introduction to Belgian beer culture,” Marco Frank of VisitFlanders adds of the new attraction.
Frank says the way in which Belgian beer is brewed and other factors make it unique and a Belgian Beer World visit is a great way to experience Belgian beer’s diversity.
Beer enthusiasts who choose to vacation in Belgium will have endless opportunities to sample the country’s different brewery products, he adds. “You’ll be happy in Belgium.”
Visits to Belgian Beer World — which was designed by museum experts — end on the roof of the Bourse with a visit to the Beerlab, which enables visitors to enjoy some of Belgium’s beers while taking in dramatic views of Brussels.
“It’s a great way to see the city center and enjoy a beer in a casual way,” Frank says of quaffing a cold one at the Beerlab.
The restoration of the Bourse began in 2019, and was supported by several levels of government: the City of Brussels, the Brussels-Capital Region, the federal government, and the European Union.
The building’s central nave acts as a freely accessible gateway between the Brussels pedestrian walkway and the Grand Place.
The Bourse is one of the city’s most iconic buildings. Built between 1868 and 1873 to enhance the boulevards of the city centre, its aim was to embellish an expanding capital. “At a time when financial markets were flourishing all over the world, the Palais de la Bourse, its full name, became a temple to finance,” tourism authorities say.
But the structure lost its lustre in recent years, an unwelcome development underscored when the last six Euronext agents abandoned it in 2014.
Few Brussels residents are familiar with its rooms and corridors but by opening up the building to the people of Brussels, the city has worked to turn it into a new meeting place.
The Bourse is open 7 days a week from 9:30 to 6 p.m. Visitors can visit the Beerlab after those hours.
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