This week marks the 90th birthday of the most famous thing – after chocolate – to come out of Belgium. The never-leaving-a-stone-unturned, ever young, probably one of the world’s most known investigating- reporters, Tintin.
Tintin was first published on January 10th 1929. What started as a comic strip in a Belgian paper, soon turned into a series of 24 comic albums created by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, who wrote under the pen name Hergé. The series was one of the most successful European cartoons and was published in over 70 languages worldwide.
Tintin was a characteristic, ageless and fearless journalist who was a world traveller that went on extreme adventures, always seeking out the truth. He was accompanied by his loyal dog Snowy and was often joined by the cynical Captain Haddock and the intelligent, hearing-impaired Professor Calculus. And let’s not forget the incompetent detectives Thomson and Thompson.
Hergé loved Brussels, and it is where he often found inspiration. To mark the birthday of this worldwide beloved character, we have put together a list of the best Tintin locations in Brussels, which will make even the most “Tintin who?” person fall in love with this charming fellow:
Belgian Comic Strip Center
There is probably no better place to start looking for Tintin in Brussels. The center offers a life-size moon rocket and a bust of Tintin made of stone. While there, you can enjoy other shows as well (hello, Smurfs!)
This iconic hotel was drawn as a background to many of Tintin’s Brussels scenes, mostly on The Seven Crystal Balls book. Even non-Tintin fans will be impressed by this old style hotel and its surroundings.
La Boutique Tintin
From keychains to signed prints, to figurines and collectors’ items, this shop offers everything Tintin.
La Fleur en Papier Doré
This coffee-bar which dates to the early 1920’s, was one of Brussels most artsy spots, frequented by famous artists, painters, poets and writers – Herge among them, where he ordered a drink of Gueze, his favourite beer.
Take a break and have a drink and a bite to eat here, whilst chasing Tintin around Brussels.
Royal Palace of Brussels
The Royal Palace is a Brussels must see for all visitors, Tintin fans or not. This impressive building is open to public From 22 July to 2 September and can be visited free of charge, except on Mondays. Tintin fans will recognise the Palace from Volume 8. of the Tintin series King Ottokar’s Sceptre, where it was set as the royal palace of King Muskar XII.
Tintin Comic Mural
There are 40 murals featuring famous comic-strip characters in Brussels. You can join a guided walking tour or just tour the city and discover them yourself. This beautiful mural represents a drawing from the album The Calculus Affair, published in 1956. Others can be found at the Gare du Midi and at Stockel metro station; and a black-and-white mural at the Gare Brussels-Luxembourg reproduces a large Christmas cartoon that Hergé did for the À l’Innovation department store in 1932.
Brussels Flea Market
Probably the most Tintin-ish location of them all. This second-hand market was set as the location for many Tintin scenes and has gained much of its reputation and popularity thanks to Tintin and its creator Hergé.
We’ll end this with one of our favourite TinTin books quotes: “Tintin! Are you dead? Say yes or no but answer me!”