Erasmus House

Het Winterlandschap

Formanoirstraat 31, Brussel

Would you like to follow in the footsteps of humanist Desiderius Erasmus? If so, the Erasmus House in Anderlecht is not to be missed! In addition to a magnificent art collection, you will also be able to visit its restful gardens.

Oude drukken van Erasmus en van andere humanisten

Erasmus House

Erasmus House is one of the oldest municipal museums in Belgium. Together with the Beguinage and the Collegiate Church of St. Peter and St. Guido, they combine into a single historic entity that recalls the commune of Anderlecht, which was the subject of significant developments from the Middle Ages thanks to the cult of Saint Guido, the patron saint of livestock. Housed in a Gothic edifice where Erasmus stayed from May to October 1521, the museum looks back at the intellectual universe of his time. The beautiful garden with medicinal herbs was designed by René Pechère in 1987. It includes about a hundred plants known to physicians for their healing powers in the sixteenth century. In 2000 landscape architect Benoit Fondu established a philosophy garden behind the medicinal garden.

Printers and publishers in Flanders

Erasmus House preserves an extensive collection of old prints by Erasmus and other humanists focused on “editiones principes”, i.e. first editions of a book by different printers. They include books by the printer Dirk Martens from Antwerp and Leuven. Dirk Martens was one of the first in the Low Countries to print with loose lead letters. He specialized in publishing humanist texts in Latin, Greek and Hebrew, including some fifty works by Erasmus and the first edition of Utopia by Thomas More. At that time printers were also publishers. They had their own printer's mark, sometimes accompanied by a personal motto. The mark gave their work a distinctive individual character, similar to the logos of commercial companies today.

Study of two bats - Attributed to Hans Holbein the Younger or Hans Hoffman

The study of a tethered serotine bat and common pipistrelle is so detailed that the animals almost look real. There is doubt about who created them and they are attributed to both Hans Holbein the Younger and Hans Hoffman. The study dates back to 1519, a time when people associated bats with sinister situations and the Devil. A magical rite involved people nailing them to doors of houses and barns to ward off witches and evil spirits. The 16th century print bears the inscription "Alcithoe," the name of a young woman turned into a bat according to Greek mythology. The story appears in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a Latin poem which was very popular during the Middle Ages.

Studie van twee vleermuizen
De Apostel

Apostle statue - Jan II Borman or his son Pasquier Borman

Contemporaries considered Jan II Borman ‘the best woodcarver in Brabant’. In his Brussels workshop he passed on his skills and craftsmanship to his two sons, Jan III and Pasquier. Specializing in wood carvings as well as stone and bronze sculptures, they realized all kinds of projects, from small statues of saints to monumental altarpieces. The oak Apostle statue from the early 16th century was polychromed and shows a standing figure draped in a robe, holding a book in his left hand, a typical attribute for the apostles John and Matthew.

Atelier van Jheronimus Bosch werd de Aanbidding der Koningen

The adoration of the Magi

The Atelier of Hieronymus Bosch painted The Adoration of the Magi commissioned by the collegiate church of Anderlecht. The triptych shows the three wise men in the centre panel, offering myrrh, gold and frankincense to Jesus. The scene shows similarities to Bosch's triptych in the Museo del Prado in Madrid. Here we see two shepherds lying on the roof of the stable, a third shepherd peeking through a hole in the wall. On the left panel Joseph of Nazareth fetches water to bathe the child. A man with a dog emerges from the doorway of a ruin, a possible allusion to the downfall of pagan religions. In the foreground of the right panel, servants of the Three Magi are putting down travel requisites and gifts. The back of the triptych shows St. Peter on the left and another saint, Mary Magdalene, on the right.

Winter landscape

Winter Landscape is part of the murals discovered in 1931 under the plaster of the great hall. It was part of a frieze at the upper edge of the walls. They were detached from the wall and framed. They were painted ‘a secco’ (dry) and date from the first half of the 17th century. The blue and grey tones accentuate the cold, icy winter landscape. Leafless trees with snowy branches on either side lead our gaze to a ruin. Two hunters in the foreground make their way through the landscape, as two silent witnesses to the winter environment.

Het Winterlandschap

Practical information


Formanoirstraat 31
1070 Brussel
View directions

Opening hours

  • Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10.00 to 18.00 hrs.

  • Open on public holidays from 10.00 to 18.00 hrs.


  • The ground floor of the Erasmus House and the gardens are easily accessible for people with disabilities.

  • Visitors with limited mobility can contact the museum when a visit is scheduled to arrange to include ramps.


Good to know

  • Admission: €5.00 standard rate

Other sites nearby

Kasteel de Viron
Jean Brusselmans allows you to experience the simplicity of a floral arrangement at De Viron Castle in Dilbeek.