Fodor's Expert Review Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale
Any visit to Brussels should include a visit here, if only to understand Belgium's difficult relationship with its own past. While much of its collection is invaluable from a scholarly point of view, it came at an incalculable cost, rooted in Leopold II’s brutal colonial rule. Even the building itself, built for Leopold II's 1897 Exposition trumpeting his violent success in the Congo Free State (1885–1908), commemorated the names of those Belgians who died there, etched into its very walls; nothing on the 10 million Congolese estimated to have died under Belgian rule. It reopened in 2018 with less emphasis on explorers and stuffed wildlife (though there is still some). The new version focuses more on Congolese voices and accurately reflecting the horrific consequences of Belgium’s colonial rule (1908–62) of a country 76 times its own size.