Street Art Spotting in Brussels

Street Art in Brussels

After hearing from a few friends that Brussels was not much more than a dull and boring city, my expectations before going were unsurprisingly not very high.

However, low expectations can often have its perks. As the old cliché goes, ‘the only way is up’ and up indeed it went baby. I found myself wondering what the hell they were talking about. Brussels is not boring and it is not dull. You just need to know HOW to explore it. Once you do, all the jigsaw pieces start coming together.

So let me show you how.

Admittedly, I didn’t know much about the city before going in terms of what it had to offer visitors. I had seen pictures of the Main Square and it looked architecturally beautiful, and another photo of the Atomium which looked awesome but that was about it. Neither of them wowed me enough to warrant a visit anytime soon but it just so happens that every two years Brussels is home to the flower carpet festival; something I had been dying to see for ages.

Flower Carpet in Brussels

Ever since I clapped eyes on a photograph of the flower carpet with its brightly coloured petals and exotic patterns I had become fixated on seeing it. I don’t actually know why. I never buy flowers for myself or try to make things look pretty. Ok, admittedly, sometimes I like making daisy chains. But I much prefer seeing flowers in the wild as opposed to cut, pruned and then plonked in a vase. I think I was attracted to the size of it. Sometimes bigger is better. Let’s admit it. Like the Atomium for example.

Atomium, Brussels

Daisy chains and the Atomium

If the Flower Carpet had been in Paris then I would have gone to Paris. If it had been in Copenhagen then I would have gone to Copenhagen. Basically it didn’t matter where I was going, I just wanted to see the damn thing. But I’m happy it was in Brussels, if it wasn’t I might never had bothered going and I would have missed out on exploring a truly great city.

One of the reasons I enjoyed walking around the city so much was because I kept stumbling across street art. Don’t get me wrong, the flower carpet was cool to see, a lot of effort had been put into it but after seeing it once I wasn’t bothered about seeing it again. Of course I recommend seeing it because it really does look fabulous, but it’s a novelty, and a secondary reason for visiting Brussels after the city itself. Once you’ve made your way through the crowds to see it, you naturally want to retreat back to somewhere more spacious. That’s when exploring the streets of Brussels makes perfect sense. Go to the places where fewer people go, head down the alleys, stroll through the side streets. Say hello to a stranger. Do whatever the monkeys you have to do to make yourself feel like you’re getting to know the city. Maybe it’s eating Vegan food on a big red bus. I did that, and I’ve got to say the food was good and it was a nice way to keep dry when the weather decided to spit rain for a little while.

Vegan food Brussels

Vegan Routes, Brussels

There are two types of street art in Brussels: the comic book strip murals and then the rest. (The ‘rest’ also includes these fantastic open-minded pieces advocating sexual and gender equality. Another reason why Brussels impresses me).

Street art, Brussels, Belgium

soroptimists brussels

I even spotted this little Soroptimist tag!

There are 42 comic strip murals to find so that should keep you busy for a few days! I love the one depicting the Adventures of TinTin because it reminds me of my childhood.

Tin tin street art, Brussels

When you’re looking for street art you go down streets you might not have bothered going down, that’s the best thing.

These other comic strip murals also put a smile on my face:

Comic strip art Brussels

Comic street art in Brussels

Street art murals in Brussels

Comic strip wall murals, Brussels

And saving the best for last:

ROA Street art, Brussels, pigs

Who doesn’t love pigs? You’d be mad not to!

Street art in Brussels

Update: After a bit of detective work, Kami from Kami & the Rest of the World found out this boy is by French street artist Jef Aerosol.

Street art Brussels

Brussels really is a city you want to get to know. If you don’t make an effort with it then you might end up calling it dull and boring. And you would be wrong.



A travel & culture blog specialising in Scandinavia and the Arctic, peppered with the rest of the world in between.


'Street Art Spotting in Brussels' have 25 comments

  1. October 21, 2014 @ 1:31 pm Shaun's Cracked Compass

    I am artistically challenged so I’m always impressed by street art. After seeing the political murals in Belfast I noticed that there was a lot of other less serious street art to admire. The only other time I took a stroll to see street art was in Berlin and it was so eclectic that I’m sure I missed the meaning of a few.

    Reply

    • October 30, 2014 @ 4:44 pm admin

      Hi Shaun! I would love to see the political murals in Belfast, they are so impressive. I think street art which is politically motivated or has a message to say is always the most effective kind, it is for me at least.

      Berlin is the crème de la crème where street art is concerned!

      Reply

  2. October 22, 2014 @ 4:30 am Justine

    I’m such a big fan of street art, but I never would have thought of Brussels as a place to find it. Some of that work is really amazing. And I love the one with the pigs too :)

    Reply

    • October 30, 2014 @ 5:30 pm admin

      I was surprised too Justine! Trying to find it all is a great way to see the city!

      Reply

  3. October 22, 2014 @ 1:45 pm RealGunners

    I would love to have a meal on the red bus too! That seems pretty cool..

    Reply

    • October 30, 2014 @ 5:35 pm admin

      Haha having something to eat on a red, double-decker bus that’s synonymous with Britain was quite a novelty! The food was affordable, tasty and healthy – that combination can be quite hard to find sometimes! 😀

      Reply

  4. October 31, 2014 @ 9:35 am Franca

    How could have we possibly missed the red bus and its vegan food? Not only it looks a nice and cool place to check out but has vegan food.. next time I guess.
    We liked the comic murals too, very different and unusual compared to the kind of street art we are used to.

    Reply

    • October 31, 2014 @ 6:59 pm admin

      Vegan Routes would be perfect for you Franca! I loved it, not only great food but great views! Agreed, the comic murals are really special and unique!

      Reply

  5. November 1, 2014 @ 10:28 pm Ted

    For some weird reason I like the staircase. If you ever get to Seville, go down toward the river from the bus station and look right. If it’s still there a building has some great artwork on – quite high up.

    Reply

    • November 2, 2014 @ 10:57 am admin

      Hi Ted, I’ve just done a google image search on street art in Seville and seen some super examples! Thank you so much for the recommendation and putting Seville on my radar!

      Reply

  6. November 4, 2014 @ 5:47 am Mike

    I absolutely loved the art and that wrap looks delicious and ginormous! “Do whatever the monkeys you have to do…” LOL I had never heard that saying before! :) Oh thank you dear I needed a smile and a laugh today and as always your writing is the perfect medicine for smiles, introspection or amazing escapes :) Ironically, a close buddy of mine were talking about how shy or not shy I am. He’s known me for years and knows a lot about me. If there is any “opening” to attempt a dialogue with a stranger I can do that. But, otherwise I can only muster a hello and a wave at best. Going down alleyways, huh? You lead the way and I will follow right behind :) Great post, Shing…

    Reply

    • November 5, 2014 @ 8:26 pm admin

      Happy I put a smile on your face Mike :)

      Ok, I’ll lead the way, if there’s anything creepy it’ll get me first and you can run and call for help.

      Reply

  7. November 6, 2014 @ 8:25 am kami

    I recently saw the little boy with the newspaper in Rio de Janeiro, must be some international thing, I have to find out! :)

    I love ROA’s animals! But I don’t think I’ve seen pigs before, so cool! :) thanks for sharing!

    Reply

    • November 7, 2014 @ 4:04 pm admin

      Did you? That’s really interesting! I just tried google searching for the street artist but to no avail, let me know if you come up with anything Kami!

      Reply

  8. November 6, 2014 @ 8:55 am Marta Kulesza

    You captured some pretty cool shots of the street art. I would have never thought that there is so much street art in Brussels!

    Reply

    • November 7, 2014 @ 4:06 pm admin

      And there’s much more to discover Marta! I was very surprised too.

      Reply

  9. November 7, 2014 @ 4:26 pm Escape Hunter

    I’ve been to Brussels and it somehow hasn’t turned out to be one of my best trips…
    Lack of time has hindered me from discovering this side of the city. I love street art.

    My favourite countries for spotting street art are Portugal and Spain.

    Reply

  10. November 7, 2014 @ 4:27 pm Guy

    Good stuff and there’s more that goes way beyond this. Like holes in the ground, done with chalk, that’ll have you stopping dead in your tracks (hongkiat.com/blog/absolutely-stunning-3d-street-art-paintings).
    You get it around London and other cities, but you have to keep your ear to the ground and get there before the next rainfall.

    Reply

    • November 8, 2014 @ 8:39 pm admin

      Hi Guy! Yes, I there’s loads more street art to add to what I outlined in this post, which gives me more reasons to return to Brussels!

      The 3-D art is awesome, I’ve seen a couple in London – definitely a summer thing :)

      Reply

  11. November 7, 2014 @ 7:05 pm Mike | Earthdrifter

    If I had a bucket list, Brussels would be on the top of it after reading this. :-)

    Reply

    • November 8, 2014 @ 8:57 pm admin

      Oh, my objective is complete Mike! But surely you wouldn’t pick Brussels over an expedition to Antarctica… would you?? :)

      Reply

      • November 9, 2014 @ 3:11 pm Mike | Earthdrifter

        Well, for a traditional place I’d have to go with Brussels, but, considering the natural art of Antarctica would surely trump the man made street art of Belgium, then Antarctica it would be, i.e. if I could handle the grueling journey to get there…

        Reply

  12. December 6, 2014 @ 5:34 am Mediodiablo

    That’s some very cool street art you’ve captured.

    I love street art and always wonder: who does it and when does it get done? It’s a mystery!

    Reply

    • December 16, 2014 @ 7:24 pm admin

      Lots of them like to keep their identity concealed don’t they?… I think it makes it a little more fun and exciting that way 😀

      Reply

  13. August 7, 2016 @ 12:48 pm Mark

    Heading off to Brussels tomorrow and really looking forward to discovering some of the cities Street Art. The stack of animals you have features is by Belgian artist ROA whose work can also be seen here in the UK.

    ROA in London:
    http://www.hookedblog.co.uk/2013/05/roa-new-mural-in-east-london.html

    Reply


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