Brussels Town Hall (Hotel de Ville)
Since its completion in 1455, Brussels Town Hall has presided over much of the city’s medieval and modern history; managing to largely survive the French bombardment of the Grand-Place in 1695 and undergoing several extensions and restorations during the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, the hall is much admired for its exterior statues and 315-foot-high (96-meter) tower.
Visitors can view the building’s exterior independently or join a tour to see its interior, including showpieces such as its Gothic hall and medieval tapestries. Brussels walking tours typically stop outside to take in its façade with a guide to spotlight its history and architectural detail. In addition, some Brussels food tours showcase the hall’s exterior in-between tastings at Grand-Place eateries—a great way to discover the city’s historical and culinary highlights in one outing. The Brussels Card also grants access to interior tours of the hall.
Things to know before you go
- Brussels Town Hall is a must-see for history and architecture aficionados.
- Book an interior or Brussels walking tour for insight into the building’s architecture and storied past.
- The Town Hall is not wheelchair-accessible.
How to get there
Brussels Town Hall stands on the south side of the traffic-free Grand-Place and is easy to reach on foot and public transport. Brussels Central Station is a 5-minute stroll away, and the nearest tram and metro stops are at Beurs and De Brouckere respectively—both stations are within a minute or two’s walking distance.
When to get there
Interior tours of the hall operate at fixed times on Wednesdays and Sundays: tickets are only available on the day from the Grand-Place tourist information office. To fully appreciate the building’s exterior, arrive early to avoid the main daytime crowds. Alternatively, visit the Grand-Place at night, when the hall and its tower are floodlit to stellar effect.
Must-Sees at Brussels Town Hall
The interior of the Town Hall is a vision of Gothic design, with everything from sumptuous wooden paneling, frescoes, and wall tapestries to gilt mirrors and priceless artworks. This rich décor is more than matched by the exterior: take time to note the 137 statues of saints and nobles on the façade and gaze up at the 5-story tower, capped by a 16-foot-high (5-meter) statue of the Archangel Michael—Brussels’ patron saint.
- Grand-Place (Grote Markt)
- Brussels City Museum (Musée de la Ville de Bruxelles)
- Hard Rock Cafe Brussels
- Choco-Story Brussels: The Chocolate Museum
- Manneken Pis
- Royal Galleries of Saint Hubert (Les Galeries St-Hubert)
- MOOF Museum
- Cinquantenaire District
- St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral
- Museum of the Turn of the Century (Musée Fin-de-Siècle)
- Musical Instruments Museum
- Grand Sablon Square (Place du Grand Sablon)
- Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium
- Magritte Museum (Musée Magritte)
- Sablon District