BRAFA, or the Brussels Art Fair, is one of the longest-running art and antiques fairs in the world and is organised every year by the non-profit Belgian Antiques Fair Association.

The first ever BRAFA was held in the Arlequin Hall of the Galerie Louise in 1956. The initiative for this “antiques salon” came from Charles Van Hove and Mamy Wouters, who were respectively the long-standing President and the Vice-President of the Belgian Chamber of Antiques Dealers at the time. This first Belgian Antiques Fair or “Antiekbeurs,” as it was then known, followed in the footsteps of the fairs that were already being held at Grosvenor House in London and at the Prinsenhof in Delft, but preceded those in Paris, Florence and Munich.

In 1967, the ASBL Foire des Antiquaires de Belgique/VZW Antiekbeurs van België was created, and took over the organisation of the fair.

Given the growing success of the fair and the increasing number of participants, it became necessary to find a venue which was better adapted to its development. The range of art objects on display also continued to expand from year to year. From 1967 to 2003, the fair was held in the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. Up until 1994, only Belgian antiques dealers who were members of the Royal Chamber of Antique Dealers could take part in the fair, which was, at the time, a purely national event. The number of participants fluctuated between forty and fifty.

The first major change occurred in 1995 when Christian de Bruyn opened up the fair to foreign dealers for the first time. This was seen as a revolutionary step by Belgian antique dealers. In no time, the fair had outgrown the Palais des Beaux-Arts and a new venue had to be found. In 2004, the Belgian Antiques Fair therefore moved to Tour & Taxis site, a gem of the Belgian industrial architectural heritage, located in the north of Brussels, next to the Willebroek canal. Now equipped with a bigger exhibition space, the Antiques Fair actively sought to increase the number of participants. Having started with no more than forty Belgian antique dealers, it grew to incorporate approximately one hundred and thirty exhibitors from both Belgium and abroad. The fair is now recognised worldwide as one of the leading international fairs in Europe.

In 2009, the name “Belgian Antiques Fair” or “Antiekbeurs van België” was no longer felt to reflect the scope of the fair, which was renamed BRAFA: the Brussels Antiques & Fine Arts Fair. On September 30th, 2009, the fair was placed under the High Patronage of Her Majesty Queen Paola. Following a complete visual remodelling of the event in 2014, the fair came to be known as BRAFA, or Brussels Art Fair.

In 2022, following the development of new projects on the Tour & Taxis site, which no longer allowed the 67th edition to be held there, BRAFA switched venues. This is a new chapter in the history of the fair, which, over the course of almost two decades on the Tour & Taxis site, had become increasingly internationalised and open to new specialities: contemporary art, design, comic strips, twenty-first-century-style curiosity cabinets including dinosaurs and astronaut costumes… Embracing all market trends and a pioneer in certain fields, BRAFA is now truly distinguished by its diversity and its “cross collecting” particularity, thanks to a perfect blend of styles and eras.

These years were also an opportunity to welcome a large number of guests of honour, ranging from the country’s major cultural institutions to internationally renowned artists: the Museums of the City of Liège in 2010, the Mayer van den Bergh Museum from Antwerp in 2011, the Opera de la Monnaie in 2013, the Royal Museums of Central Africa in 2014, and major twentieth-century artists such as Julio le Parc in 2017, Christo in 2018, the Gilbert & George duo in 2019, without forgetting the magnificent exhibitions orchestrated by the King Baudouin Foundation in 2012 and 2015…

BRAFA has also brought the BRAFA Art Tours and BRAFA Art Talks to the attention of an ever more numerous and regular audience, to deepen its knowledge of art and to promote the discovery of various artists and cultural themes. Today, more than 68,000 enthusiastic visitors flock to the aisles of BRAFA: art lovers, collectors, directors of major museums, patrons of Belgian and foreign museums, members of cultural and economic circles… Its longevity and success are also due to the loyal sponsorship of Delen Private Bank.

The fair will henceforth be held at Brussels Expo on the Heysel plateau, to the north of the Belgian capital. Brussels Expo is an exhibition venue specifically designed to host various international fairs and events. Known for its prestigious past, the infrastructure of its exhibition halls is a legacy of the Universal Exhibitions in Brussels in 1935 and 1958, whose landmark monument is undoubtedly the Atomium, a symbol of the Exposition 58.

BRAFA continues to cultivate its specificity. It is an eclectic fair on a human scale, in which to discover firm favourites, in the space of a few hours, in an elegant and friendly atmosphere. As it begins a new chapter in its history, it continues to relentlessly pursue its mission of offering an ever more qualitative international fair. Thanks to the rigorous selection of the participating galleries, exceptional works of art, and an impeccable organisation, BRAFA is an unmissable event for meetings and exchanges in Europe.