A taste of Europe in two hours
Updated: Jul 3, 2019
Are you one of those who is amazed by the European architecture, the major monuments, structural splendour but don’t have time or scope to visit the countries? Well, in case you are living in Brussels in Belgium and you have two hours in hand, you can enjoy all these in just one morning or afternoon. The structure may be in miniature versions at scale 1/25 but the meticulous detailing of the buildings and towers will leave you in sheer awe! And not just the structures but there are lifelike figurines and live actions happening.
This is Mini-Europe, a miniature park located in a place called Bruparck, about 30 mins local bus ride from Brussels city centre. When I was living there in Brussels for a short work assignment, one Saturday morning, I set out to explore this beautiful place I heard a lot about. This park is located at the base of a landmark building called Atomium.
This is an iconic structure made in the form of giant sized steel spheres mounted with huge cylindrical steel connectors. Mini-Europe along with Atomium has become one of those “not-to-be-missed” tourist places in Brussels. (Some Brussels photos) So, I thought of hitting both the birds with a single stone.
Inside the park
Though I could but I did not feel like going to the top of the Atomium just to get a city’s landscape view from high above. So, after moving around Atomium for a while and taking several pictures from various viewpoints, I went to the Mini-Europe. Wow, what a cool place! Most of the iconic structures and monuments was in front of me like in a bundle package of the entire Europe. The intricate details of the architecture along with the “life” happening around those places in the form of live actions took me by sheer joy. Not just entertaining, but this place is of huge educational value to anyone who is an admirer of Europe’s historical, architectural and cultural wealth.
After the entrance, I first came across the City Hall of Stockholm. Sverige (In the picture) means the kingdom of Svears, the principal people occupying the country in 800 AD. After a while, I found the 17th century Hoensbroek Castle (the brown building) and the Maastricht City Hall both situated in current Netherlands.
Then came the the Grand Place of Brussels, which every two years is covered with a magnificent carpet of flowers, is one of the most beautiful squares of Europe. The surrounding buildings there are City Hall and Houses of the Corporations. There was quite a large crowd at this place probably because people were cherishing and comparing the minute details with the real buildings which are merely few tens of kms away in the city.
After a few steps, hey, I know this set of buildings; in fact many do. There lie the famous Big Ben and the British Parliament. I struggled to take a good look as so many tourists posed in front of it guarding almost the entire structure. But wait a minute, who would imagine the
Eiffel Tower in Paris can be seen jutting out right behind the Big Ben. Well, that’s possible in Mini-Europe!
From Big Ben area, within few steps, I could find the famous Montmartre of Paris and the Arc de Triumph very next to it. There was even a miniature running model of escalator going high up to the Sacre Coeur monument with little figurines moving up and down!
Suddenly I’m shaken by a fat blow-horn of a big ferry, Pohhhh! Pohhhhh! Ah, that’s a P&O Ferry going past in e water ditch next to me. These live actions are so fun here that kids and even adults were going crazy. There are interactive actions too which you can control, be it destruction of a portion of the Berlin Wall or eruption of the Vesuvius or launch an attack on legionnaires or scare the Vikings.
A short video of Mini-Europe
Here is a sneak peak into these interactive live animation activities.
From there, my attention was drawn to a place with plenty of children taking pictures with a very common-place tower - eh that’s the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I could spot the cathedral and duomo as well next to the leaning tower.
Very close to Pisa, there was the famous clock tower of San Marco square and Doug’s palace in Venice with gondolas parked next to those.
Going past the aircrafts of some of the major European airlines like KLM, Lufthansa, Turkish, British Airways, I could spot my memories of Greece with Parthenon and Temple of Athena on top of Acropolis.
This park exhibits more than 350 monuments which were selected for their architectural quality and their European symbolism. They are reproduced to such finest details, the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela alone required 24,000 hours of work. Many statues of the Grand-Place of Brussels are painted with real gold leaves.
In the Seville arena, 6,000 figurines were placed, one by one, to attend the bullfight. The Big Ben is 4 meters tall. At 13 meters, the Eiffel Tower is taller than a 3-storey building.
Behind the captivating universe of the miniature monuments, the dramatisation and live action animations, relive our surprising common history with its values and heritage!
From the origins of democracy to the enterprising spirit, from the Greek, Roman or Viking heritage to the political transformations of the 21st century, one will find commentary at every stage of the journey in the free catalogue that is teeming with information and anecdotes that will delight all children, curious minds and history fanatics.