At the foot of the triumphal arch in Brussels' Cinquantenaire Park lies the Royal Museum of the Army and Military History. We went to take a look at the immense museum in the European heart of Brussels, through two tours in the ErfgoedApp.
The Middle Ages: a time of heroic knights and damsels
You begin your museum visit in the "Weapons and Armor" room. This is also where the newest tour in the ErfgoedApp starts, which is completely geared to the youngest squires. Digi-knight takes the little ones on a tour of the hall, where you will learn how armor, shields and weapons were manufactured and used in ancient times. There are also some quiz questions you can answer. The answers can be found in the exhibition.
For Forest, for Freedom and for Justice: the beginnings of the Belgian army
Then you'll enter the Technical Hall, with a large collection of Belgian flags, rifles, swords and even horseshoes. You can see what technical changes the army went through over the years. Using the pennants, you can see the evolution in firearms, which were used by the Defense Department.
Next to the Technical Hall is the Historical Hall. Here you will encounter various costumes worn by army officers and soldiers during their international missions in the 19th century. Currently, the museum is renovating the exhibition on the Belgian Revolution and the birth of Belgium (1815-1830). So you will soon be able to revisit it in all its completeness!
Lest we forget: the Great War
In the hall about the 19th century, walk up the steps to the World War I exhibit hall. Here, too, the ErfgoedApp provides a tour for the youngest soldiers. Using "Sculpture from the Great War," you will discover interesting facts about World War I and the Belgian Army in the app. The room is divided according to the countries that took part in the Great War. For each country you will find the national uniforms, the weapons and vehicles used. You will learn more about each country's specific part in the war and get an explanation of what the situation was like at home. The expo takes you from the start to the end of World War I, explaining every facet along the way. In addition, there is also the Russian Hall, where you can see the remaining heritage objects of the Tsarist army and monarchy.
Is it an airplane? Land army, navy and air force vehicles
After this, you will enter the main hall with information about the Navy, land army, aviation and expeditions to Antarctica. Most impressive are the planes, jets, helicopters and tanks that you can admire in this large exhibition hall. In this hall, there are several models on display, allowing you to closely follow the evolution of the vehicles. There are even a few specimens that visitors are allowed to sit in.
The interwar period and World War II
Then walk on to the exhibition on the interwar period and World War II. This permanent exhibition is located in the museum's Bordiau Hall and is spread over three floors. You will learn not only about the occupation and liberation of Belgium, but also about the techniques of persecution and genocide. There is also a focus on the collaboration in Belgium, and the repression after the liberation. A broad story is told, explaining all the important social, political and economic aspects of World War II. And there are several multimedia applications, making it an interactive and educational experience as well.
The best view comes after the toughest climb
Finally, a museum ticket also gives you access to the top of the Triumphal Arch in the Cinquantenaire Park. Following this is the Arcade Room where there is an exhibition on the weapons, uniforms and costumes of the French army during the 18th and 19thcenturies. An unmissable extra!
The Royal Museum of the Army and Military History is a large and all-round museum, where several generations can spend a day. For each time period there is an interesting exhibition. The museum is interesting not only for admirers of the Belgian Army, but also for people interested in a broader Belgian and historical story. On the basis of the ErfgoedApp , the youngest knights and soldiers can already look for interesting facts about the Middle Ages and the Great War.