The Halle Gate is a medieval fortified city gate of the second walls of Brussels. It is now a museum, part of the Royal Museums for Art and History. Built in 1381, the gate was named for the city of Halle in Flemish Brabant which it faces. The original gate included a portcullis and drawbridge over a moat. The structures that housed these are still visible.

While the other six gateways and the defensive walls were demolished, the Halle Gate survived as it was used as a prison. It was at other times used as a customs house, for grain storage, and a Lutheran church.

The architect Henri Beyaert restored the building between 1868 and 1870, changing the austere medieval tower with more romantic Neo Gothic embellishments. The outer entrance, now facing Saint-Gilles, is closer to the original appearance. In front of the inner gate, facing the city of Brussels, Beyaert added a circular tower topped by a conical roof, containing a monumental spiral staircase. Beyaert also added turrets and a large roof.

In 1847 the Halle Gate became part of Belgium's Museum of Armour, Antiquity and Ethnology, now named the Royal Museums for Art and History. By 1889, the Halle Gate was too small to house most of the collection, and most was relocated to the Cinquantenaire Museum. It continued to display armour and weapons.

In 1976, the building was in a dangerous state of disrepair and was closed. Finally renovations began, and the Gate was reopened in 1991. Further restoration was stalled by lack of money, and the museum only housed temporary exhibitions.

In March 2007 a new extensive restoration was begun. The Halle Gate finally reopened on June 6, 2008. Finally the St Gilles (drawbridge) entrance was opened as the prestigious main entrance to the building. The museum includes exhibits about the history of the building, and of the city of Brussels and its defence. The collection includes the parade armor of Archduke Albert of Austria.



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Founded: 1381
Category: Castles and fortifications in Belgium


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User Reviews

Francois “Pancho_89” (5 months ago)
I really enjoyed this visit to the Porte Halle Museum. The audio-guide is super good, the information I find it very interesting how Brussels was protected with these fortified walls plus the army guilds or coorporations and the weapons they used. It does help to understand the development of this city. The views from the top are very nice too. I spent 2 hours visiting by myself and that was enough time to visit everything. Amazing staircase.
BrightScytheOfLife (5 months ago)
If you're really into the history of old Brussels and their guilds, it required. For adults the ticket price of 10€ might be a little high, but if you're with kids this place is perfect. Kids or free, and there's plenty to keep their interest up
Erin Campbell (6 months ago)
This museum was amazing! For someone interested in medieval history this was an absolute goldmine. The museum was incredibly well laid out and the exhibits were fascinating. The audio guides made it really easy and fun to navigate around the museum and we easily spent around 2 hours properly exploring everything. The panoramic view of the city was an added bonus. This was a perfect place to fill a few hours on a weekend afternoon. We didn’t buy tickets before our visit and were able to walk right in. The staff were extremely lovely and so helpful too!
Daniela de la Torre (7 months ago)
If you have only 24-72 hrs in Brussels don’t come here, but if you do have a little more time, it can be an option, not because of the museum but because of the panoramic view of the city. The museum itself it’s interesting and gives you an idea of the medieval lifestyle. Also, an audio guide is included.
Christopher Davis (7 months ago)
A nice museum spread out among 5 different floors. The main reason for my visit though was the offering of a panoramic view. It was quite good and along with the museum for £10 was a justifiable price in my opinion. The entire structure is accessible by elevator and that was a plus after days of carrying or walking up many stairs together with a toddler. You have to leave bags in lockers that take 1 Euro coins. The staff did offer some slugs in case you were without. There were also clean bathrooms at the top and bottom levels. The included audio tour was the best I'd experienced in the area. It offered interesting information in a concise manner and didn't try to force too many jokes or ridiculous narratives upon the listener. There was even a yearlong temporary exhibit for small children that we found quite nice. If you want to see a great city view, and a horse's bullet wound, this is the place for you.
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