Tintin's enduring influence in Brussels, 90 years on
Jenny Longden

Ninety years on, the young journalist and explorer remains famous around the world. 

But while his story has taken him from the Congo to the Moon, it is in Brussels where Tintin and a regular cast of characters, first came to life as the creation of George Remi, who worked under the pen name Hergé.

He was first drawn in 1929 for a Belgian newspaper – but Hergé went on to create 24 books detailing the Adventures of Tintin, set during the 20th century. They became among the most popular European comics ever. 

It seems like every corner you turn in Brussels, there is Tintin – in a shop front, a museum or even on a wall... where he can be seen following his dog Snowy and Captain Haddock down the stairs: 

This mural is painted on a building in Brussels

This mural is painted on a building in Brussels

But Hergé's influence is not just found in art, it is in the fabric of the city – such as the Jeu De Balle flea market, which inspired The Secrets of the Unicorn. The market, much like the comic book, captures the hustle and bustle of the Belgian capital.

Mark Van Achter, at the Hergé Museum, says: "Thompson and Thomson, Captain Haddock, Calculus, Snowy and Tintin, naturally. He gave all his life for Tintin because Hergé didn't have a son. He gave all his life for the character of Tintin."

Van Achter says the character remains popular around the world but still retains his Belgian roots.

"Everybody can find a part of himself in the work of Hergé. I think this is why the work of Hergé is so important. Whether you live in England or you live in Japan, everybody can find something of himself. There is always something from Belgium also, because Hergé was a Belgian artist and we can always find a bit of Belgium in his work."

Hergé's comics about the intrepid explorer and his faithful dog can now sell for millions of euros. But despite his fame and popularity around the globe, it is in Brussels where the character of Tintin was formed, and where Hergé's creation lives on.