100 years ago, the first packet of Belga rolled off the belt in the Vander Elst family’s factory. For this occasion, the National Tobacco Museum is unpacking a small thematic exhibition with the story and some unique objects about the iconic cigarette.

After World War I, interest in cigarettes grew and tobacco companies capitalised on this trend. The Vander Elst brothers, for instance, also see the potential and launch Belga in 1923. The Belgian tricolour immediately plays a prominent role in the story, but sales only skyrocket after they choose to feature a woman on the packet. She will become the symbol of Belga for decades. The brand becomes a Belgian icon. It would remain the market leader until 1980, but in the meantime the brand had long been in the hands of foreign multinationals. They market their own brands and flood the Belgian market with large-scale publicity campaigns. In 2014, Belga will disappear from the scene for good…

>>> Discover this temporary exhibition from 1 September 2023.

Anyone tempted by this text to smoke, feel free to call Tabakstop toll-free on 0800 111 00.

For the duration of the works, the National Tobacco Museum will remain closed.


If the refurbishment works go according to plan, we will reopen the doors of our revamped reception area at the start of the Easter holidays, when the new tourist season kicks off.