Destinations Magazine

CreepyTravels – Going Underground In Brussels

By Ingridd @cosytraveler

Wanna see a completely different side of Brussels? Not afraid of less agreeable smells and the possible sight of an occasional rat? Then a visit to the Sewer Museum of Brussels is something for you!

As the official website says,

THE SEWER NETWORK UNDER THE CITY OF BRUSSELS IS NEARLY 350 KM LONG! THOUSANDS OF M3 OF WASTE WATER FLOW THROUGH THESE 350 KM OF UNDERGROUND DRAINS AND TUNNELS EVERY DAY.

Moreover,

And unlike other museums, this one is active, with the River Senne playing the leading role. A museum that tells the story of when, why and how the sewers were built, describes the jobs that people do in this underground world and explains the city's water cycle.

This is indeed the strength of the museum. It not only explores the history of the sewer system in Brussels but also the responsibilities of its workers and its economic, ecological and social impact.

By the way, have you ever wondered why you cannot see a river in Brussels? The Zenne (or Senne in French) was completely covered up in the course of the 19th century because it had become too polluted. Anyway, the river has its source in the Wallonian village of Naast (not far from Zinnik, to the south-east of Brussels), flows through the whole region of Brussels and finally ends in Flanders, not far from Mechelen (to the north of the Belgian capital). It is about 103 kilometres long and as I said before, invisible through most of the Belgian capital. However, here at the Sewer Museum, you can catch a glimpse of it!

Some fun facts we learned at the museum:

  • For every inhabitant in Brussels, there are 2-3 rats. More than 1 million people live in this region, so you can do the math....
  • "Where there are restaurants, there are rats".
  • One of the workers of the sewer museum in Paris visited this one in Brussels and found the Belgian one to be superior to the French one! Reason: the Sewer Museum offers a lot more information and is, therefore, less boring.
  • And one of the workers keeps a collection of rat dolls. Very cute and he is - and should be - very proud of it.

The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 5 pm. It is located at the Porte d'Anderlecht which is served by trams 51 and 82 and bus 46. All information throughout the museum is in three languages: Dutch, French and English. The members of staff we talked to during our visit were trilingual as well, extremely friendly and very helpful. Leave a comment in the guestbook, this is an unusual museum with awesome people.

As always, since this is a Creepy Travels project, we only show a limited number of pictures. This time in black and white.


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