Are you one of those people who love looking down on a town – be it from an aeroplane, from a tower, or from the top of a church spire? Well, then we are alike! Although Brussels neither has an Eiffel Tower to look down from nor an Empire State Building it does have a rather picturesque arch in the Parc du Cinquantenaire. Most tourists will come here for a quick snapshot after having visited the EU-district. But only very few know that you can actually go up to the viewing platform – completely for free.
Don’t bother looking out for signs – you probably won’t find them. The lift up to the arch is hidden, right at the back of the Military Museum. Recently the Museum has actually put up a note on the door, so at least there is some sort of signage. On entering the museum, you turn left. (So you walk past the entrance again.) Then you cross one or two rooms filled with weapons – and right at the back is a staircase to the left and a lift to the right. Many people who have got this far think that the lift is for staff only as it is tiny. But it is not!
At the top there are another couple of steps (so unfortunately the place isn’t wheelchair accessible) and then you are out on the roof. There are two terraces on top of the arch, however, they seem to only open one each day. Enjoy the stunning views – on good days you can see the Atomium and the Basilique in Koekelberg. (By the way: This also has a great viewing platform, which we will write about soon!)
The museum ist open till 5pm, but the arch closes for one our during lunchtime – presumably as the guard up there wants to take his lunch break!