Founded in 1828 during the Dutch period, the first museum in the country opened its doors to the public in 1829.
In 1839, the museum transferred to a gallery and a square room, designed by the architect Bruno Renard, at its current location, which is the site of the former Saint Martin Abbey brewery. When it was extended and refurbished – it officially re-opened in June 2001 – it was intended that the presentation of the items in it would not neglect its “cabinet of curiosities” which allows visitors to time-travel back into the world of 19th-Century natural history cabinets and also a gallery of stuffed animals which are as rare as they are extraordinary. There you will be able to admire the first elephant to arrive in Belgium, in 1839.
A living museum
The Natural History Museum and Vivarium is characterised, moreover, by the presence of a vivarium in which fish, tarantulas, amphibians and reptiles which are alive live in reconstituted habitats. You can thus come almost face-to-face with species as fabulous as spectacled caimans, Amazonian poison frogs, the rare Egyptian tortoises and also Jamaican boas which are now threatened with extinction.
A museum which is part of a network of museums
The museum in Tournai is not just a museum. It takes part in threatened fauna protection and reproduction programmes. The Natural History Museum and Vivarium in Tournai is a member of European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). The association’s members include the largest zoological parks in Europe and its main aims are to safeguard threatened animal species by means of co-ordinated reproduction programmes and also nature conservation citizen awareness programmes.
From 1st April till 31st October (summer time)
Open daily from 9.30 to 12.30 am & from 1.30 to 5.30 pm.
From 1st November till 31st March (winter time)
Open daily from 9.30 to 12.00 am & from 2.00 à 5.00 pm.
Tuesday : closed.
Sunday morning (winter time) : closed.
All museums are free on the first Sunday of the month !