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    Terrorist threat scares visitors away from Brussels museums

    © Belga
    © Belga

    In 2015, Brussels museums welcomed 3.3% less visitors than the previous year, figures from tourist office VisitBrussels show.

    Crowd numbers particularly nose-dived at the end of the year, as a consequence of the Brussels lockdown in the wake of the Paris attacks on November 13th, De Tijd reports on Friday.

    For Brussels museums, the end of last year was a disaster. VisitBrussels stated that crowd numbers nose-dived by 26% in November and by 23% in December, relative to the same periods a year earlier.

    In January, some museums noticed a 30% reduction in visitor numbers compared to January 2015. In the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Belgium where so-called culture “vultures” are henceforth obliged to be subject to additional security measures, the cost of which comes to 45,000 euros – the terrorist threat hampered the atmosphere at the end of year. “Overall, 2015 was better than 2014, but the last few months have been disastrous,” confirms the spokesperson, who says that “financial loss due to museum closure and decreased crowd numbers in December was estimated at 200,000 euros.”

    Amongst the large museums in the capital only Bozar (the Brussels Centre for Fine Arts) seems to have escaped the prevailing gloom. After several days of calm, visitor numbers were back up to the period prior to the terror threat.

    Oscar Schneider (Source: Belga)