Belgium, Brussels, Europe

Ten Weird and Wonderful Things in Brussels.

March 29, 2013

I love nothing more than uncovering the weird and wonderful side of a destination – one that will never appear on a postcard or be featured in a Lonely Planet guidebook.

If you thought Prague was weird, wait until you see the Weird and Wonderful things that Brussels has in store.

1) The Cat On A Bike Sculpture – Just outside of Galeries Royales St Hubert is this sexy cat, dressed in spandex shorts and a hot pink crop-top who happens to be riding a bike! This work of art created by Alain Séchas cost the city of Brussels approximately 100,000 euros. The feline is also quite popular with tourists who stop for cheesy photo opportunities.

Cat on a Bike Sculpture in Brussels.

2) The Peeing Boy Obsession – Brussels is infamous for their peeing boy statue, the Manneken Pis. Strange but true, this tourist attraction brings people from all around the world. Funnier yet is that he’s dressed up in different costumes throughout the year and sometimes even hooked up to a keg so that he pees … beer.

So how far can you take the joke with the peeing boy? At Zaabär chocolate factory, you might feel tempted to take a bite out of the life sized chocolate reproduction of the Manneken Pis.

A Chocolate Peeing Boy in Brussels.

The creators of this poster really went out of their way to make something they felt funny but failed entirely when it came to formatting their speech bubble and text.

A Peeing Boy Poster in Brussels.

Did you know that there is also a statue of a peeing girl (the Jeanneke Pis) and even a peeing dog (the Zinneke Pis)? Check out this post on Ali’s Adventures where Ali and her husband Andy went on a fun mission to seek out the peeing statues of Brussels.

3) The Smurfs – “Are we there yet, Papa Smurf?” I grew up with the Smurfs watching their cartoon religiously every Saturday morning and even dressing up as Smurfette for Halloween (two years in a row).

Did you know that the Smurfs were a Belgian creation? What started as a comic, became a cartoon and eventually a successful franchise.

It turns out that if a peeing boy can be turned into chocolate so can a smurf as seen here at a Neuhaus chocolate shop.

The Smurfs in Brussels.

4) Unfashionable Purses – I spied this daisy covered purse in a window display at an upscale womenswear store. I now wish I’d gone inside to inquire about the price as I’m sure it wasn’t cheap! It’d be hilarious to learn if the shop managed to sell any of these and how many euros it cost.

Perhaps it was simply being featured as a kitsch item in celebration of the floral carpet event?

A Flower Purse in Brussels.

5) Fierce Looking Statues – This 17th century statue of a knife wielding butcher comes complete with pig carcasses and hangs off of one the buildings surrounding Brussels’ Grand Place, a square known for it’s eclectic architecture.

Statue at Grand Place in Brussels.

6) Tents for Record Labels – I first took this picture as it was pretty funny, not to mention random, to see a tent hanging a banner that says “Fuck a Duck.” Turns out that Fuck a Duck is a local record label with an old My Space page.

Fuck a Duck in Brussels.

7) The Clash of Old Meets New or Pretty Meets Ugly – At the Royal Palace of Belgium, you see this historical and beautiful building and then rest outside on these gaudy brightly coloured circular shaped benches surrounded by dead plants.

The Royal Palace of Belgium.

8) A Chandelier and a Ceiling Made from Beetles – So the round benches and dead plants may not be all that weird, just plain ugly, but this chandelier and ceiling featured in the Royal Palace made from beetles is totally weird.

Known as Heaven of Delight, this unique artwork was completed by Jan Fabre a guy who not only likes to smoke (see his web site) but experiment with mediums such as blood, sperm and insects. Jewel beetles from Thailand were used in this particular instance which took 30 people and 4 months to glue all the insect shells to the ceiling.

A Chandelier Made From Beetles at the The Royal Palace of Brussels.

If you’re interested in learning more about the ever eccentric Jan, check out his interview at sculpture.org.

9) Quirky But Cool Cafes – You know that I’m a sucker for a cool cafe and fortunately Brussels is full of them. Take for instance the touristy Arcadi Café where bills of cash adorn the wall. It’s also rumoured to have the best cakes and quiche in the city!

Arcadi Cafe in Brussels.
In Brussels’ vibrant and hipster Ixelles neighbourhood, you can play chess with others at the Chess Cafe.

Chess Cafe in Brussels.

10) Giant Cigarettes – This giant cigarette hanging from a shop window is flanked by posters saying “The Sidewalk is Not an Ash Tray.”

Note to self – do not throw my cigarette butts on the streets of Brussels or I could be featured as the face for one of their future poster campaigns.

A Giant Cigarette in a Shop Window in Ixelles.

Lastly, it’s fun to act weird when you’re in such a weird place like Belgium so here’s me “pretending” to drink beer from yet another odd window display!

Cheryl Howard in Brussels.

If you like weird stuff, check out my other posts about Weird and Wonderful Prague and Weird and Wonderful Milan.

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15 Comments

  • Reply Freya March 29, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    haha all true but Brussels is a great international city. I live in Antwerp, Belgium and am curious which weird things you would find here 🙂

    • Reply Cheryl Howard March 29, 2013 at 2:15 PM

      @Freya – Agree, I loved Brussels. Just thought it would be fun to write about some of the weird and fun things there. 🙂

      I hope to visit Antwerp someday! <3

  • Reply Peter Lee March 30, 2013 at 8:23 AM

    Brussels is very different. I have never been to this place but your post inspires me to explore this place by myself. I like the chess cafe where one can challenge any unknown for a game. Really this city is both weird and wonderful at the same time .

    • Reply Cheryl Howard March 30, 2013 at 8:04 PM

      @Peter – I really hope that you make it to Brussels!

  • Reply Andrea March 30, 2013 at 8:23 AM

    I haven’t been to Brussels! Looks wonderfully wacky =)

    • Reply Cheryl Howard March 30, 2013 at 1:47 PM

      @Andrea – You should get there soon! It’s such a fun city and full of good food.

  • Reply Kate March 30, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    I didn’t know the smurfs originated in Belgium. These photos are more arty and fun than I imagined Brussels being.

  • Reply Cheryl Howard March 30, 2013 at 8:06 PM

    @Kate – This doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of Brussels. A lot of people pass it off as a “boring” city but I think it’s anything but that and I can’t wait to visit again someday.

    And yeah, who knew about the smurfs? The kid in me was totally delighted! 🙂

  • Reply Arianwen April 2, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    Wow. That handbag really is vile! Some people have way more money than sense!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard April 2, 2013 at 7:21 PM

      @Arianwen – I know, right?! I want to know who bought this handbag or if it was simply a joke. Ha ha.

  • Reply Isa January 16, 2015 at 10:30 AM

    I shall visit Brussels end of January 2015, with what i just read it seems that i shall spend marvelous 4 days. Be glad if more info could be sent to my email. Thanks.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard January 16, 2015 at 10:57 AM

      Hi Isa!

      Thanks for visiting. Hope you enjoy Brussels.

      I’m not sure what type of information you’re looking for, so just email me at cheryl.howard@gmail.com with more details.

      Cheryl

  • Reply Alice Abath June 10, 2015 at 7:33 AM

    I had the same impression about brussels, and that was what made me love the town.
    Specially when you were walking around and suddenly you were in front of a big wall with a funny scene of Tintin, or at some hour of the day an iron figure of a man appeared in the top of the roof of the national library and ring a giant bell.
    A lovely city to visit with smell of chocolate in the air.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard June 10, 2015 at 8:11 AM

      Hiya Alice – Yes, Brussels definitely has a lot of weird and wonderful things there. That’s what makes me love it too. And yes, that chocolate is sooo yummy! 🙂

  • Reply The Top 100 Canadian Travel Blogs August 19, 2015 at 9:48 AM

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