It seems that almost every important thinker, philosopher and writer has passed through Brussels at some point: Victor Hugo, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine, Karl Marx… to name a few. Erasmus, the Dutch Renaissance thinker and humanist, who went on to found a highly popular student exchange programme, lived in Anderlecht for a few months on his way to France.
At the time, Anderlecht was a thriving cultural hotspot and an important seat of learning. These days, it is a quiet neighborhood in the West of Brussels, often overlooked by tourists and locals alike. That’s a shame, though. The house where Erasmus stayed is now a fascinating museum, full of old manuscripts and artifacts that document his work, humanist learning and the general atmosphere of the period.
When I went, I was almost alone in the museum and had the elusive Brussels sun shone, I would have lingered to enjoy the medieval herb garden in the courtyard. Even with the rain, it was a great experience.
The entrance ticket also grants you entry to the nearby Béguinage, which is definitely worth a visit. I took advantage of being in Anderlecht to have a look around the area and there are some interesting old streets and traditional brown bars.