Tintin comes to town

Written by Frédéric Solvel - 28 Jun 2006, 00:00 (Updated: 12 Jan 2022, 04:09)
Tintin comes to town
Famous at the four corners of the globe, the reporter with the little tuft of hair has decided to settle down in the capital.

His father, Hergé, lived here and often used the city as inspiration in his albums. Follow in Tintin's footsteps as you walk the streets of Brussels.


Tintin throughout Brussels

Starting from the city centre, you will find a mural devoted to the cartoon character just a few steps from another Belgian icon, the Manneken-Pis. Tintin, Captain Haddock and Snowey are painted on a gable on Rue de l'Etuve going down the emergency stairs. For fans of the comic, other black and white frescos decorate the walls of the Gare de Midi and the Gare de Bruxelles-Luxembourg. But let's stick to downtown Brussels. On the other side of the Grand-Place on rue de la Colline, the official Tintin store attracts collectors. Figurines, stuffed animals, key rings and t-shirts will catch your eye and drain your wallet. Now we’re heading in the direction of the Sablon. The typical small bar La fleur en papier doré was somewhere Hergé and his surrealist friends loved to go. It is definitely a throwback in time.

A little bit further up in the place du Grand Sablon, Tintin & Snowy are represented as statues, ready for a photo. A bronze copy of the statue by Nat Neujean is looking over the Comics Café. The first version of this statue was placed in the Park de Wolvendael until it was transferred to the entry hallway of the cultural center in the same commune.

In the historical center, the wonderful Belgian Center for Comic Strips dedicates a space to the heros that Hergé created with Tintin as the center of attention of course. Right when you enter you will be greeted with the imposing rocket that took this reporter to the moon in Destination Moon. A second work by the artist Nar Neujean is also displayed in the hall: a stone chest of our Brussels heros.

On the other side of Brussels near the metro Stockel is a huge fresco representing some 140 characters from the 22 adventures of Tintin. This fresco was created from the Hergé’s sketches just before he died. It’s a must see!

On Avenue Paul-Henri Spaak, a Tintin and Milou sign overlooks Brussels from the rooftop of the Lombard publishing company (publisher of Tintin.) Drive carefully under the watchful eye of this giant landmark...

In order to visit the Hergé Museum you have to leave the city and go in the direction of Louvain-la-Neuve, about 20 minutes from Brussels. It’s here where, after much debate, the museum dedicated to Tintin’s creator is located. Some things to see: original boards, posters, caricatures…

Brussels throughout Tintin

Hergé loved Brussels and never lacked inspiration from this city. Just a couple of steps from the Sablon in the Marolles neighborhood, you will be in the middle of the flee market by which Hergé was inspired for the beginning of the comic strip The Secret of the Unicorn. This is a place to appreciate for its typical, multicolored Brussels atmosphere, all while bargain-hunting for a model boat which is perhaps hiding a mysterious treasure map…

Also in Marolles, do not hesitate to go searching for the mural dedicated to Quick & Flupke! These two Brussels natives also took shape thanks to the pencil strokes of Georges Remi (Hergé).

Go inside some of the museums in Brussels to see the works that inspired the author. At the Cinquantenaire you will find the Arumbaya mascot from The Broken Ear. In Tervuren at the Africa Museum, you will tremble facing the leopard man that we see in the adventures of Tintin on a report in Congo. Walk around Watermael-Boitsfort on the Avenue Delleur side looking for Professor Bergamotte’s villa where natural and supernatural elements unfold upon the opening of The Seven Crystal Balls. The Théâtre du Parc is also found in the comic strip just like the room in the Music-Hall-Palace where Bruno, king of the magicians, performs his show.

Nope, you haven’t lost your mind - in Uccle, the dome at the Royal Meteorology Institute really is where Tintin discovers the gigantic meteorite that destroyed the Earth in The Shooting Star.

In King Ottokar's Sceptre, Brussels was a big part of Hergé’s inspiration for the decor in his stories. The palace of King Muskar XII of Syldavie looks a lot like our Royal Palace. As for the Royal Park, Tintin meanders around here after he discovers Professor Halambique’s bag.  

If you wish to know more on the subject, there are many guided visits that will teach about these interesting stories, filled with anecdotes for the biggest Tintin fans and for curious comic book fans alike. 

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