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Going to the moon with Tintin

Almeria Allen
Almeria Allen

The Jakarta Post

Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium | Mon, April 9, 2018 | 09:21 am
Going to the moon with Tintin

We had the first men walking on the moon in 1969, but actually almost 20 years before them, Hergé, the author of The Adventure of Tintin had sent his explorers -- Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock -- on a lunar mission. (JP/Almeria Allen)

We had the first men walking on the moon in 1969, but actually almost 20 years before them, Hergé, the author of The Adventure of Tintin had sent his explorers -- Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock -- on a lunar mission.

Everything in the comic strip seemed to become a reality, from the fluffy suits to the big transparent helmets. The Adventure of Tintin was translated into more than 50 languages. It has been adapted for theatre, radio, television, cinema and computer gaming.

To celebrate Hergé’s achievement, the Hergé Museum was opened in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, in 2009.  

The museum’s architect, Portzamparc, took a decade to translate Hergé’s ideas, images and figures into an architectural language. You can see the result because the museum has different exhibition areas that illustrate various “kinds of character” through experimenting with form, color and design derived from Hergé’s drawing style.

The museum is located in a park around 45 minutes outside the Burxelles city center.

Read also: Madame Asterix: Promoting local elements in literary translations

Inside the museum, you will get a peek into the life of one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. You will see Hergé’s early life with his family, where they lived and what his parents did for a living. Hergé was born to a lower middle-class family in Elterbeek in Brussels, Belgium. You will also see Hergé’s first work before Tintin. His first comic series, The Adventures of Totor, was published for Le Boy-Scout Belge in 1926.  

Hergé Museum was opened in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, in 2009.  Hergé Museum was opened in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, in 2009. (JP/Almeria Allen)

All of Hergé’s creations are on display. Among these are sketches of other works outside the Tintin series like Quick & Flupke and The Adventures of Jo, Zette and Jocko. They were both published by Le Vingtième Siècle, the same magazine that published The Adventure of Tintin.

Besides permanent as well as temporary exhibition areas and a video projection room, there is also a room where you can create your own e-card. You can choose one strip of The Adventure of Tintin you would like to appear in and send it to your email address. You can also experience the old version of 3D glasses, named a viewmaster in the 1980s. and check out the real history of the countries Tintin had traveled to.  

There is also an illustration of all the characters in The Adventure of Tintin on the ceiling. A quiz in your audio guide will tell you a character’s name and you will have to point which one it is.

On one of the walls, you will see the story of our famous soprano, Bianca Castafiore. It apparently was not that easy to decide on her name. The options were Fiore, Fiole, Casta Pipe, Casta Gueule, Casta Figure, Casta Barre, Castabagnac or just Casta. Thank goodness they decided on Bianca Castafiore.  

Hergé famously said, “By believing in his dreams, man turns them into reality.”  

His parents did not have a lot of money but he always wanted to travel the world. He sent Tintin instead who in fact traveled more than him.

Some children were enjoying the exhibition while listening to the audio guide during my time in the museum. I bet those kids were introduced to Tintin by their parents. Thanks to Hergé and our parents, we traveled to the moon and back with Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock.

SnowySnowy (JP/Almeria Allen)

How to get there

A train from the airport will take you to Brussels’ city center. Take the train to Luxembourg and get off at Ottignies station. From there you change and take a local train to Louvain la Neuve station and stop at the last station. You then walk around 400 meters past local shops to the park.

There is also a shuttle bus that can pick you up at the hotel where you are staying in Brussels’ city center. You should arrange it with your hotel or the City Tours Brussels office. The museum is open the whole week except on Mondays and it is free every first Sunday of the month.

Ticket sales

You can buy your ticket online from the museum’s website or at the door. With no extra cost, you will be given headphones and your personal audio system, which are available in English, French and Dutch.

Where to eat

There is a restaurant at the museum. There is an illustration on the wall at the museum showing Snowy getting hungry. There are also plenty of cafés, restaurants and other places to eat close to Louvain la Neuve station.

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