Museums and public galleries in Brussels in lockdown in wake of terrorist attacks

Police evacuate park near royal palace after abandoned suitcase found

by Anny Shaw  |  22 March 2016
Museums and public galleries in Brussels in lockdown in wake of terrorist attacks
Bomb damage at Zaventem Bruxelles International Airport after a terrorist attack today (22 March) in Brussels, Belgium. Photo: Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images
Museums, libraries and galleries in Brussels are in lockdown today after terrorist attacks at the city’s Zaventem airport and Maelbeek metro station. The Belgian government has not confirmed casualty numbers, but it is feared that at least 26 people have been killed in the explosions. The country has now raised its terror threat to its highest level.

A spokeswoman for Bozar, the Brussels Centre for Fine Arts, said the museum is closed “due to today’s tragic events”, and any decision to reopen would be taken on a “day-by-day basis”. It is understood that the government has advised all museums to stay closed until further notice.

The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium posted a statement on its website saying: “In the context of the current terrorist threat (level 4) in the region of Brussels, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium are closed at the moment.”

Le Monde's cartoon showing Paris' solidarity with Brussels. Image: Instagram / Le Monde
The Musical Instruments Museum in Brussels tweeted that the level four threat will prevail until Sunday. “This means [the museum] will not reopen before next week. Take care.” Other institutions in the city that took to Twitter to announce their closure include the Cinquantenaire Museum, the Magritte Museum and the Museum of Natural Sciences.

Private galleries also closed their doors today. Maison Particulière said in a statement: “Due to the current context in Brussels and in solidarity with the victims, Amaury and Myriam de Solages decided to close the present exhibition, ta.bu.” The art centre is not due to reopen until its next exhibition launches on 21 April.

Meanwhile, a park near the royal palace has been evacuated after an abandoned suitcase was found, according to local media. Security forces were reportedly called after a British MEP spotted the suspect object on a wall.

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