The 20th edition of the Nocturnes will take place this year from April 22 to June 10. Every Thursday evening, a series of Brussels museums in the same neighbourhood will be open to the public for a moment of escape, offering them the opportunity to take a closer look at the current exhibitions or their permanent collections. Through an exclusive and simplified program in compliance with the current security measures, the only cultural places accessible at the moment are shown in a new light.
No less than 54 museums are participating in the Nocturnes this year. The initiative, which was supposed to celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2020 before being cancelled, has been rethought to be able to take place in a fluctuating health situation, to say the least.
Focused, behind-the-scenes and customized programming
This year, the Nocturnes offer visitors a chance to get back to the basics of museum life with : standing guides, expert guides who will be on hand in the heart of the exhibitions to answer questions from the public; a behind-the-scenes program that will present certain museum professions live or allow visitors to access areas that are usually closed to the public, such as the storerooms; a kids program for children up to the age of 12 (in groups of no more than 10); and extra-muros outdoor activities that will situate the museums historically in their neighborhood.
Among other things, the program includes an escape game that lets you enter the National Bank Museum’s vault; access to a secret passageway that connects the Art & History Museum and the Army Museum through the Arcades du Cinquantenaire; a meet the artists at the new exhibition “Les Orages” in ISELP; a special immersive walk around the Sewer Museum; a discovery of Art Nouveau around the Cauchie House or a guided tour for children by children in the Jacqueline de Jong exhibition at the WIELS. The museums certainly competed in ingenuity to offer a varied and safe program.
The most avid visitors looking for new exhibitions will not be left out and will discover the spiritual Icons at the Boghossian Foundation – Villa Empain, Chanson d’Amour on the outsider sound creation at the art et marges museum or a duo of contrasting exhibitions on migration at the Jewish Museum of Belgium: contemporary art with Ellis Island and the recent photographic work of Mathieu Pernot on the refugees of the island of Lesbos in Something is happening.
Participating for the first time in the Nocturnes: BELEXPO, the MigratieMuseumMigration, Géopolis – Centre du photojournalisme and ISELP. The very popular Wiertz Museum, closed since the beginning of the pandemic, will also reopen its doors especially for the occasion.
The Nocturnes take place every Thursday evening from 5 to 10 pm. The end time will be systematically brought back to 9pm according to the evolution of the Brussels curfew (the museums participating in the first nocturnes of 22.04 and 29.04 will thus end at 9pm). The increase in capacity for certain activities will also depend on the evolution of the situation and the recommendations of the Concertation Committee in this respect.
Flexible visit at a democratic price
While the relaxed and casual atmosphere has always been central to the Nocturnes, this year it will certainly bring a little comfort and light in the darkness where other cultural venues are still closed and the risk of isolation high.
During the Nocturnes, each museum costs 5 euros (standard rate) or 2.50 euros (-26 years old), all animations included. Despite a financial situation for the sector that makes this mission difficult, Brussels Museums asbl intends to continue to democratize access to culture. The Nocturnes are part of the association’s broader ambition to make museums more accessible to everyone, by working on specific barriers such as entrance fees, traditional opening hours, perceived distance, information, and visibility of museums.
When: Every Thursday from April 22 to June 10, from 5 to 10 pm and upon reservation.
Price: Per museum, 5 € (standard), 2.50 € (-26 years) or 1.25 € (Article 27) for the entrance and all the extras of the evening.
Each week, the museums of the same Brussels neighbourhood open their doors and allow to combine visits.