page contents
Carolus V Festival – Brussels during the Renaissance

Carolus V Festival – Brussels during the Renaissance

From May to September, the Carolus V Festival is a chance for Brussels to relive the spirit of the Renaissance. Among the many activities offered, the exhibitions and guided walking tours through the Capital of Europe introduce visitors to the time of Charles V, the most powerful Emperor of the 16th century.

The Carolus V program is organized in the context of the cultural network “European Routes of Emperor Charles V”. This tourist history route is recognized by the European Council’s European Institute of Cultural Routes. It includes the places that marked the reign of Charles V and the towns he passed through.

The heritage and European history of the 16th century are thus highlighted with a series of festive, cultural and family-oriented activities organized at various locations in the Brussels Capital Region. Visitors relive different memorable episodes of life in the time of Charles V, depending on the tours and walks.

From the exploration of the treasures behind the scenes of the Ommegant to the fortifications
of Mediaeval Brussels, not forgetting the secrets of the Maison du Roi, here is an overview of the unmissable events and tours this year:


Since the earliest times, men have imagined that giants exist, whether gentle or terrifying. According to folklore expert Albert Marinus, parades and processions of giants express a need to convey ideas and feelings in a visible, extraordinary way. This exhibition displays all the facets of these characters and biblical and legendary heroes, who are so much more imposing than mere mortals. It takes place in the ruins of the Coudenberg Palace, which was Charles V’s residence in Brussels.

Practical information
Dates: 17/05 to 02/09
Meeting point: Palais du Coudenberg (underground passages of the Place Royale – Place des Palais 7 – 1000 Brussels

THE ERASMUS HOUSE, a 500-year-old dwelling

The Erasmus House, one of the oldest houses in Brussels (built in 1515), brings together a collection of paintings (by Holbein, Bosch, and Metsys) in a reconstructed interior of the period, a rich library with thousands of early editions, and a Philosophical Garden.

Guided tours on request.

Children’s game circuit: Traveling with Erasmus (children aged 6 to 9 years) – On the Trail of Erasmus (10 to 12 years).

Practical information:
Dates: from the end of May to the end of September
Times: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (closed on Mondays)


Brussels in the time of Erasmus FR
09/06, 25/08, 29/09 at 2 pm

The less-known side of Charles V – ESP
From June to September every Friday at 2.30 pm

In the Footsteps of the Court of Charles V FR-NL-EN
FR: 26/05; 7/06; 21/06 at 10.30 am
NL: 12/06 at 10.30 am
EN: 26/05 at 2.30 pm
05/06, 14/06, 19/06 at 10.30 am

Habits and Customs of the Renaissance: Focus on the Maison du Roi – FR
03/06 at 2 pm

In the footsteps of Lamoral, Count of Egmont, & Philip de Montmorency, Count of Horn – FR
03/06 at 2 pm

The Sablon and the Saint-Georges Crossbowmen – FR
17/06; 15/07; 19/08 at 2.30 pm

Anderlecht: Remembering the Béguines, Saint Guidon and Erasmus – FR
09/06 at 2 pm

Behind the scenes of the Ommegang, 1st part – FR
10/06 at 2 pm

Habits and Customs of the Renaissance: Brussels, fortified town – FR
16/06 at 2 pm

Charles V in Brussels – FR
01/07 at 2.30 pm

Behind the scenes of the Ommegang, 2nd part – FR
06/07 at 6.30 pm

For several of its tours, group tours are available on request during the entire festival (subject to guide availability) in several languages (FR, NL, EN, DE, ES), and some visits in French adapted for blind and sight-impaired visitors.

Share This