Autoworld Brussels: Journey through Automotive History

autoworld brussels

Autoworld Brussels is in Parc du Cinquantenaire, a popular tourist area that’s home to quite a few famous city museums. It’s a niche museum with a very special collection, and it’s absolutely worth it for people who are genuinely into its theme. It’s also included in the Brussels City Card, so you can visit it for free if you’ve already purchased the city pass!

General Information

Blue Boulevard - Autoworld
Blue Boulevard in Autoworld – Image courtesy of Wikimedia

The Autoworld museum is situated in Parc du Cinquantenaire in the eastern part of Brussels. It’s the Belgian national automobile museum with a detailed exhibit on all sorts of cars and their development through the years. The museum presents a detailed overview of the motorcar’s history dating from the late 19th to the late 20th century and allows all visitors to glimpse vehicles that are more than a century old.

There are also many cars representing certain epochs, from the iconic 1960s Chevys from the US to the military vehicles used in the world wars. A true automotive aficionado could easily spend countless hours at this museum, running from one exhibit to the next, from the past to contemporary cars, and discovering the various motorbike exhibitions.

If you’re not entirely sure whether Autoworld is a museum you will truly enjoy or you’re worried about the value for money, I suggest you check out their virtual exhibit first. The museum has made its entire collection available for virtual visits, and it’s a good introduction to what awaits at the actual museum building.

Autoworld Museum History

car display Autoworld Brussels
Autoworld Brussels – Image courtesy of harry_nl

The history of this museum is almost as interesting as the impressive vehicles on display at its building. It started off as a private museum that showcased the collection of various cars owned by the Mahy family. Ghislain Mahy, the founder of this museum, was a talented mechanic who restored and collected dozens of unique cars in his lifetime.

With the help of Ivan and Hans, his two sons, Mahy managed to build a collection of more than 1,000 vehicles. The Mahy collection included many vehicles manufactured in Belgium, such as the Minerva, Vivinus, Belga-Rise, Germain, and others. When the museum opened its doors to the public for the first time in 1986, some 200 of the cars displayed there were from the private Mahy collection.

The museum would not exist without the dedication of Ghislain Mahy, but at the same time, the collection would have never seen the light of day if it wasn’t for the involvement of King Albert II, Herman De Croo, and Minister Louis Olivier.

In the past two decades, the museum has significantly expanded upon its original collection. The creation of new zones helped divide and organize the collection according to themes, and the Sport & Competition zone in particular increased interest in this Brussels museum.

How to Get to Autoworld Museum

Autoworld Museum is situated in an impressive historic building at Parc du Cinquantenaire 11, which is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Brussels. Merode station is the closest to this park, and you can reach it by bus, tram, and metro from other parts of the city.

The Autoworld is approximately a 20-minute metro ride from the central area of Brussels or just a 30-minute walk. The closest bus station to this museum is Gaulois, but you would have to walk around the entire museum building to reach the entrance.

The museum is situated in a neo-classical building at the southeastern edge of the park. To the left of the building is Square de la Bouteille with its imposing fountain, so it should be very easy to find the museum entrance.

Ticket Prices & Opening Hours

Autorwold Belgium is open from 10 AM to 5 PM on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. On Wednesdays, the museum is open from 10 AM to 3 PM, and on the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) the museum operates from 10 AM to 6 PM. This museum is open year-round, with the exception of certain holidays.

Ticket prices for the museum range from 7 Euros for children to 15 Euros for adults. There are special discounts for groups of 15 or more people, senior citizens, disabled visitors, and students, but the vast majority of adult tourists can expect to pay 15 Euros for a ticket.

Tourists who purchase the Brussels City Card can enter the museum free of charge.

What to Expect When Visiting

Porsche 911
Porsche 911

Expect to be amazed as soon as you enter this museum. The collection of vehicles at this museum is absolutely impressive, and it includes an 80s Formula 1 car, old military vehicles, bubble cars, the earliest models of carriages, iconic models from the previous century, and even some contemporary cars (mostly electric), among others.

The museum’s exhibit is divided into several sections based on various automotive themes, making it fairly easy to find any specific vehicles you’re looking for. One section is dedicated entirely to racing, and this is where you can find old Formula 1 cars, the GTs, and old rally cars.

Another section is dedicated to the United States, and you can find some of the most iconic US-made vehicles. There’s also a section dedicated to Belgian automotive history, with unique vehicles that illustrate the significance of Belgium in the automobile scene of our day and age, as well as explore the history of the Belgian car industry. There’s also a selection of cars owned by the Belgian Royal family, which are an integral part of the museum exhibit.

In addition to that, it’s important to note that Autoworld Belgium often organizes temporary exhibitions that pay homage to certain events and anniversaries in the automotive world. New cars are temporarily exhibited at the museum during these special exhibitions, and other areas are sometimes set up. For the 100th anniversary of Le Mans, the museum set up a simulator that allowed visitors to do a virtual lap around the iconic circuit!

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