Earlier this year, VisitBrussels helped make one of my dreams come true. An Instagram collaboration promoting springtime activities in the city led to a special visit to my favorite museum in Brussels. The Horta museum is a true Art Nouveau masterpiece that everyone should see. This was my third visit to this stunning townhouse and it was the most special one yet. Not only did I get to see it before opening hours but I received special permission to photograph it!

woman looking out an art nouveau door at horta museum
horta museum art nouveau interior

The Horta museum has a strict no-photography policy in order to protect this historical gem. In particular, to avoid a high concentration of visitors on the staircase, the stunning but fragile centerpiece of the house. Taking photos easily distracts a person and you could easily take the wrong step and knock down an antique piece of furniture, or worse. The museum sees this rule as a chance to completely immerse yourself in the unique interior, without distractions. And honestly, there are so many details that will catch your eye. Personally, I could spend hours discovering them all!

art nouveau horta museum in brussels

Five years ago, I visited this beautiful house twice within three months, on my own and with friends visiting from the United States. I even wrote about it shortly in this blog post about my favorite Art Nouveau buildings in Brussels. I always thought it deserved a blog post of its own but having had no photos of it, I didn’t see a point in writing it. However, this last visit changed everything. If these photos don’t inspire you to visit this museum, I don’t think anything will!

dining room and staircase at horta museum; brussels

Let’s start from the beginning though and the fact that this used to be Victor Horta’s home. Designed by himself, this was his residence and office. In case you don’t know, Victor Horta was one of the founders of the Art Nouveau movements. The curvy stylized organic forms were omnipresent in all of his beautiful creations, many of which still exist in Brussels.

Built between 1898 and 1901, his private home might not be his most lavish design but it’s impressive nonetheless. Eleven half-floors are interconnected by a splendid main staircase that ends with a skylight. By incorporating half-floors, windows, skylights, and mirrors, the light circulates all throughout the narrow townhouse. Innovative in design and in the use of materials, the house is an architectural marvel. In fact, the main staircase showcases an unusual combination of wood, iron, and marble.

While the interior is undeniably spectacular, the building facade is no less! The golden balcony and the many stylized details make up the unmissable exterior of this townhouse. I always found that it was at its most beautiful during autumn. The golden leaves only accentuate the effortlessly gorgeous facade. And I love that the warm color palette continues onto the interior. Every room feels inviting and distinguished at the same time. Even the kitchen is situated on a half-floor under the ground floor. The details and materials used in designing it leave you marveling at the end result!

Horta was a master at combining industrial and luxurious materials, artfully accomplishing a perfect blend of the two opposites. The long sinuous lines, the stained curved glass, the mosaics, and the patterned wallpapers, all the elements work in perfect harmony. The museum underwent a meticulous restoration that lasted many years and focused on different sections of the house.

mirror self-portrait in the horta museum
piano and staircase at horta museum in brussels

Regarding the practical information, the museum is open every day except on Monday and on certain public holidays. Also, if you happen to be visiting then, the entrance is free on the first Sunday of the month! And while you’re there, take a long walk through the neighborhood of Saint-Gilles and look up. You’ll notice plenty of Art Nouveau buildings adorning this area of Brussels!

On the whole, I sincerely recommend visiting the Horta museum. You will be transported to the elegant olden days of Art Nouveau beauty. Walking through the rooms, I could feel them coming alive and taking me back in time. I found myself playing out scenes in my head, picturing life back in the day. This place always inspires me but it was especially compelling on an early Saturday morning before opening to the public. I was incredibly lucky to get this opportunity and will always cherish this memory!

wallpaper detail and living room at museum horta
woman looking out the window at horta museum
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