In order to attend a meeting of the Expert Group on Venture Philanthropy and Social Investment of which I’m a member, I had to spend a couple of days in Brussels.

Day 1 was fairly boring: go to the EU Commission, attend meeting, make legislative and regulatory proposals, have dinner (delicious Musels Frites at (Aux Armes de Bruxelles), and go to the hotel. By the way, I have to remember not to stay in that hotel again. While the location is excellent, the wifi is unbearable slow and unreliable.

Day 2, on the other hand, was a lot more fun. As my “free day”, I decided to go to see several exhibitions.

The first one was the Musical Instruments MuseumMusical Instruments Museum . An impressive collection of musical instruments, hosted in probably the most impressive Art Nouveau building in Brussels (The Old England). I totally recommend visiting the MIM, particularly with kids, and make sure to get the audio guide, to find out what those instruments sound like, which is not always obvious.

After the MIM I went straight to the Parlamentarium. Although I have been in the European Parliament several times before, I had never visited the educational space that is the Parlametarium.

It was a nice visit, paying a moving homage to the wonderfully humanist and idealist utopia that is a united Europe. Some of the images, and some of the messages, can bring you to tears. Particularly in the current nationalistic and separatist climate.

But for something even harsher, the exhibition I was there to see was “State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda”.

The exhibit was wonderfully timely and well put together, if a bit short and almost absolutely centered around the anti-Jew messages of the Nazi regime. Then again, it’s organized by the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., so that was to be expected. In any case, everybody should go see it. But since not everybody will have a chance to, I took pictures of all the panels (click through to the end of the slide show):

After the history lesson (hopefully so it’s never again repeated, although it has already started to repeat itself), I headed to the Bozar.

In Bozar there’s so much going on that I will not try to list all the things I saw, did, and heard there. The main current exhibitions were Fernand Léger ‘Beauty is Everywhere’, ‘Spanish Still Life’ Velázquez, Goya, Miró…, Kehinde Wiley, Dirk Braeckman, the Henry Van De Velde Awards 17, ‘Raw Poetry’ Casablanca Borderlines, and the one I was most looking forward to seeing (and placed in the most ridiculous and hidden place of all, on the second floor above the cafe): ‘Watching You Watching Me’ A Photographic Response to Surveillance.

With that overdose of awesome art, design, and ideas, I went to the store, and ended up buying three books. I know I promised myself to only buy digital versions and use my ebook reader, but…

On the way back to the hotel, and before dinner at Chez Léon, I stopped at NeuhausNeuhaus , and bought my chocolate tribute to be allowed back home :D