The Belgian Centre for Comic Strip Art – Brussels, Belgium - Atlas Obscura
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Brussels, Belgium

The Belgian Centre for Comic Strip Art

From Tintin to the Smurfs, Europe's greatest graphic icons are celebrated in a grand Art Noveau gallery. 

The Belgian Centre for Comic Strip Art, or Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée, is a kind of hall of fame of European comic book arts.

Comic albums are a distinct and revered cultural institution in the Franco-Belgian world, with a variety of genres and styles catering to a diverse audience. Brussels has been the epicenter of the comic art form since the early-20th century, and a great source of talent. The influence of Franco-Belgian comic style has spilled over to the rest of the continent defining a distinct European comic book tradition.

The Belgian Center for Comic Strip Art exhibits the works of some of the greatest European masters of the art, from Hergé (the creator of The Adventures of Tintin) to Peyo (the Smurfs), and from Franquin (Spirou, Gaston, Marsoupilami) to Uderzo and Goscinny (Asterix). Temporary exhibits also explore the latest developments in the world of both European comics and comic traditions from other continents.

Perhaps the main highlight of the permanent exhibition is the array of original drawings by comic grandmasters. A section devoted to the origins and evolutionary history of the art form grounds visitors in the wonderful world of comics. The extensive gallery of the prints, organized according to historic styles and genres, details the creative process from script to the final published album. The center also contains a well-stocked international comic book shop and a study library with the biggest collection of comic book titles in the world.

The center is in the heart of the Brussels, housed in a stylish Art Nouveau building designed by famous Victor Horta. Statues of comic icons provide additional decoration and great photo opportunities for visitors young and old alike.

Know Before You Go

The nearest train station is Bruxelles-Congres around the corner, though Gare Centrale (Central Station) is also close. The nearest Metro stops are Gare-Centrale and Botanique.Information around the exhibits is provided in French, Dutch and English and guidebooks for other languages are available for free upon arrival.The Brussels Card is valid here and travellers who've bought a card can enter without paying the standard entry fee. Unlike many of Brussels' museums the Center is open on Mondays which, though convenient for tourists, means it is likely to be busier on that particular day.The Center is open from 10am to 6pm daily.