A key figure in the Franco-Belgian comics tradition and the beloved creator of Tintin, Georges Remi - better known by his pen-name, Hergé - exerts a potent presence on pop culture. His life and work are lovingly celebrated in the Musée Hergé - a site that serves as both a shrine to avid Tintinologists and an appropriately artistic tribute to one of Belgium’s great creative personalities.
Located in the small planned town of Louvain-la-Neuve in Wallonia, the museum is housed in a remarkable building designed by the modernist architect Christian de Portzamparc and the cartoonist Joost Swarte.
Visitors who venture inside the highly evocative edifice are offered the opportunity to immerse themselves in both the real and fictional worlds of Hergé. The Adventures of Tintin are chronicled album-by-album with original art from each story on display alongside evidence of the author’s painstaking research. Exhibits provide insight into the author’s inspirations and celebrate the series’ colorful characters - icons such as Snowy, Captain Haddock, Professor Caluclus and the hapless Thom(p)son Twins.
There was more to Hergé than just Tintin, however, and the museum also explores his personal life and work beyond the bequiffed boy reporter. Hergé’s career in advertising and his lesser-known comic creations - such as Quick & Flupke and Jo, Zette & Jocko - are covered.
As for Georges Remi as a person, visitors get a feel for him through his artifacts, personal correspondence and archive photos from throughout his life (from childhood scouting days to his post-fame global travels). Surprises lie in store - for example, the discovery that the creator of Snowy was more of a cat person. Furthermore, records and books from his collection show that in his later years Hergé tuned into eastern philosophy and enjoyed the Beatles and Pink Floyd.
Altrogether, the outlandish-looking art museum in Louvain-la-Neuve stands as a fitting monument to Hergé’s legacy. Something of an adventure in itself, it’s well-worth a look in for Tintin devotees and the general public alike.