Atomium Escalator: Travelling through hyperspace in the Belgian tourist attraction
Ever since I learned to read I've been a Tintin fan, and I've appreciated the albums exponentially more getting older, so when I recently discovered there was a museum dedicated to his creator Hergé I started planning my own Belgian adventure to Musée Hergé.
Located in Louvain-la-neuve, about an hour outside of Brussels by train, the purpose built museum is easily the most striking building in the small and bricky university town. The interior is as impressive as the bold white exterior and its strange angles and colourful walls turn it into a piece of art that changes as you move around it, like a living cubist comic book.
The exhibitions themselves are spread between two floors and eight rooms each looking at a different aspect of Hergé's career. This is a much more engaging way of exploring his art than simply offering visitors a chronological tour through of his archives and helps to put a spotlight on all his creations, not just Tintin.
Highlights for me (and it's hard to pick just a few) were seeing the model moon rocket used when creating Destination Moon and Explorers on the Moon, artwork for Tintin au Congo where Tintin blows a Rhino up (deleted from the modern version of the album - in itself disturbing but showing the extremes of Hergé's less enlightened days) and the plate of Tintin discovering the wreck of the Unicorn in the sea used for Red Rackham's Treasure.
A plate from Explorers on the Moon - from Musée Hergé
All in all it was an emotional experience seeing the original artwork of images that have been fondly etched in my memory since I was about five, and I left with many questions I had about Hergé answered.
The audio tour is a must as well, I normally don't listen to them and stuff them in the nearest available pocket, but this one was perfectly paced and enriched with supplemental video clips and games for children.
A plate from The Broken Ear - from Musée Hergé
As the museum was really a celebration of Hergé's art some of the more sensitive issues surrounding his career were glossed over, but there's plenty of literature on them out there for those who want to delve deeper. The only disappointment was that it was super quiet when I went there and I didn't meet any fellow fans to talk to.
My verdict - a blisteringly brilliant 2 - 3 hour experience that will stick in the hearts of fans as long as the books have. The only museum where I've read all the plaques and info on the walks.
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Mark is a freelancer who specialises in creative copywriting and content creation. Starting out as a freelance blogger he's experienced at putting his copywriting skills to work on a variety of subjects and can easily turn his hand to different styles. In his years as a freelance writer he's always brought a creative edge to everything he's written.
In addition to being a freelance copywriter and a hard-working wordsmith Mark has also forged other forms of content for the web and print working as a photographer, video editor and a general content creator on a freelance basis.
Based in Devon Mark lives within questing distance of the UK's Middle Earth aka Dartmoor. He likes his detectives hard-boiled, his eggs runny, and his time travel non-paradoxical.
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