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Place des Sciences, 3, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve

Suggested by Angela Oestmann 

Of all the many extraordinary museums in Belgium – and we have seen a few – this is one of the stranger ones. The Musée L, L like Louvain-la- Neuve is in the middle of the campus of Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL), housed in the previous library building. The building itself is remarkable. It was created by two famous Belgian architects, André Jacqmain with furniture by Jules Wabbes, and was totally renovated in 2017.

As for the exhibits as the museum site says “...the Musée L makes artworks talk to each other: a Buddha next to a medieval Christ, ancient writings alongside calculating machines... The UCLouvain museum, with 20.000 items in its collection, explores some new and unusual encounters that tell us about the world and our humanity.”

We couldn’t grasp the bizarre combinations until we understood that what we saw were mostly the collections of scientists who were teachers and researchers at the university. Then, we really enjoyed the multitude of items, some of which are quite shocking, like a collection of photographs measuring the “black body” or certain historical medical instruments. However, one thing bothered me considerably: on the wall listing people with merits in science and politics, only ONE woman was mentioned, strangely enough Virginia Wolf as suffragette. Not even Marie Curie was considered worthy of being listed.

On a practical note, the Musée L can be reached from a quagmire of separate parking lots. Check carefully on the navigation and search for the museum’s parking. Nevertheless, the entire university area is of historical interest and its oldest part is beautifully landscaped.

Image from Musée L's website

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