Villa Empain in Brussels

The Villa Empain in Ixelles / Elsene in Brussels is famous private home with a pool. At the time of construction, private pools were really rare in Belgium.

The Villa Empain is a private house in the Art Deco and Bauhaus styles built in 1930-1934 by Swiss architect Michel Polak. It was commissioned by Baron Louis Empain, son of the Belgian industrialist Édouard Empain. Since its restoration in 2009–2011, it has been open to the public. 

Between then and now it has been a museum, it was commandeered by the German occupying forces in WWII, it was the embassy of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and a RTL radio studio. Now it’s again a museum.

More on its history at Wikipedia and the official web page.


Designed by the architect Michel Polak, the concept was that the swimming pool would reflect the rear façade. With a depth of 3.80 m and a volume of 500 m3, at the time it was considered to be one of the largest and most modern of its kind, as well as one of the first private swimming pools in Belgium. 

It was completely restored during the work done on the Villa. The pool is surrounded by a pergola with a mosaic floor reflecting the colours of southern climes. 

More on the pool.


There are always exhibitions on at Villa Empain. We saw ‘Mappa Mundi‘, on world maps.

Allow an hour for Villa Empain.

Practical information

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