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A handy overview of Antwerp’s museums

22 February 2022
A handy overview of Antwerp’s museums

Are you an avid museum visitor? Then there is plenty to indulge in in Antwerp. There are all kinds of amazing museums in Antwerp for you to visit. Antwerp is, therefore, a very popular destination for museum lovers. Thanks to its rich history you will find numerous museums in Antwerp. From art and culture to fashion and history, the museums in Antwerp hold something for everyone. Do you prefer a tour with a guide or would you rather set out on your own? It is up to you!

DIVA | Museum for diamonds, jewellery and silver

DIVA Deluxe
© Sigrid Spinnox

DIVA is the number one museum for diamonds, jewellery and silver in Antwerp. The museum is located at an historic site from the 16th century which was the place to be for people who were looking for objects made of gold, silver and precious stones. DIVA’s permanent collection takes you on a journey back in time through 500 years of craftsmanship and artisanship. After a visit to DIVA, you can go on a treasure hunt in Antwerp armed with your new-found knowledge.

Address: Suikerrui 17/19, 2000 Antwerp

Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library

Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience
© Ans Brys

For over five centuries, this place has been preserving and collecting Flemish cultural heritage, from old prints and historical newspapers to recent publications. Just as impressive as the unique collection is the Nottebohm Room. You can only discover this beautiful historical library space during a guided tour.

Address: Hendrik Conscienceplein 4, 2000 Antwerp

FOMU | Photo Museum

FoMu
© Jesse Willems

Here you can experience photography like nowhere else. The FOMU is one of the leading museums of photography in Europe, with unique collections of images, equipment and books. FOMU creates ambitious exhibitions every year and is an ambassador for both local young talent and established photographers. You can attend a wide range of activities, such as vernissages, artist talks and debates. Or you can browse through the library, leaf through photo books and magazines, relax in the museum café, stroll through the museum shop or catch a quality film. The hip Zuid, where the museum is located, is an excellent starting point for a day in Antwerp.

Address: Waalsekaai 47, 2000 Antwerp

House of Literature

Letterenhuis
© Ans Brys

This is THE literary archive of Flanders. The museum houses the finest collection of archival documents on Flemish literature from the 19th and 20th centuries. Great stories and ‘petites histoires’, rough drafts and the finest tomes, forgotten gems and unforgettable classics. Conscience and Claus, Antwerp and Reetveerdegem … In a sense, you get a glance over the shoulders of the authors.

Address: Minderbroederstraat 22, 2000 Antwerp

Maidens’ House

Maagdenhuis
© Maagdenhuis

In this former orphanage for girls or ‘maidens’, you will discover the history of the orphan girls and of poor relief in Antwerp. The rich art collection, with works by Rubens, Van Dyck and Jordaens, fits in surprisingly well with that story. A nice bonus: the neighbouring Mechelseplein is now one of the hippest squares in Antwerp.

Address: Lange Gasthuisstraat 33, 2000 Antwerp

MAS | Museum aan de Stroom

MAS
© iStock

The MAS is a place where you can look at the world, the city and yourself. Over 500,000 objects form a stream of stories: about art and cultural traditions from all over the world, about the history of the city and the port and about overseas shipping and trade. With seven museum rooms and temporary exhibitions, the MAS is always writing new stories with both its own collection and fascinating loaned art objects. Be sure to go all the way to the top — yay for the escalators — because the promenade and the rooftop panorama offer you the best view of the city. The MAS is also the ideal starting point for an exploration of the lively neighbourhood of Het Eilandje.

Address: Hanzestedenplaats 1, 2000 Antwerp

Middelheim Museum

Kunstenpark
© Joris Casaer

In this unique place, art and nature go hand in hand. This open-air museum, with an enormous art park and several pavilions, displays a magnificent selection of more than 100 years of sculptural art. Solo and group exhibitions are also regularly organised. And the park itself is an exceptional example of landscape art.

Address: Middelheimlaan 61, 2020 Antwerp

MoMu | Fashion Museum

MoMu
© Matthias De Boeck

MoMu reopened its historic building in September 2021. The MoMu collection is the largest and most important in contemporary Belgian fashion. On the ground floor you will find the new Collection Presentation, this exhibition provides an overview of the main protagonists of Belgian fashion.

Address: Nationalestraat 28, 2000 Antwerp

Museum Mayer van den Bergh

Museum Mayer van den Bergh
© Ans Brys

Paintings, retables, sculptures, jewellery, manuscripts and tapestries. All displayed in an atmospheric interior full of delicate, small art treasures. Must-see masterpiece: the famous painting Mad Meg by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, beautifully restored.

Address: Lange Gasthuisstraat 19, 2000 Antwerp

Museum Plantin-Moretus

Plantijn Moretus
© Victoriano Moreno

Get swept away by the story of publisher Christoffel Plantin and his in-laws the Moretus family. The museum contains three hundred years of book printing and family history: the oldest printing presses in the world, a rich art collection, portraits of Rubens and books, books, books. You will discover manuscripts, incunabula and original prints. This is also the first museum in the world to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

Address: Vrijdagmarkt 22, 2000 Antwerp

Museum Butchers’ Hall

Museum Vleeshuis
© Dave Van Laere

Museum Butchers’ Hall introduces you to the musical past and present of Antwerp. Under the title Sounds of the City, the museum brings 800 years of music and dance back to life. The tour lets you hear and experience the sounds and the collection opens up the world behind the music. With instruments, prints, texts and models, the museum tells the stories of musicians, carillonneurs, opera singers, instrument builders and dancers.

Address: Vleeshouwersstraat 38, 2000 Antwerp

Red Star Line Museum

Red Star Line
© Flickr Andrew Hardy

Two million passengers made the crossing on the Red Star Line steamships. In the museum, you will follow the path of the emigrants, from their departure from their country of origin, over the long journey and a temporary stay in Antwerp, to the big crossing to their new homeland of America or Canada. Their story, that of the shipping company and of the city and its port are the focal point of the Red Star Line Museum. The building itself is the biggest highlight; you will experience everything in the authentic historical place where the emigrants once started their journey. The museum takes you on an eventful journey. Migration has occurred throughout history. Millions have left everything they knew behind to seek a new future elsewhere.

Address: Montevideostraat 3, 2000 Antwerp

Rubens House

Rubenshuis
© Ans Brys

In this museum, Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640), one of the most brilliant artists in human history, is your personal host. In the Rubens House, Rubens reveals who he really was: painter, art collector, father, friend and architect. He designed the majority of this ‘palazzo’ on the Scheldt himself. This beautiful building is more than just a museum. Of course, you will discover a collection of magnificent works by Rubens and his contemporaries. But you will also get very close to the artist himself. In no other place in the world can the soul of Rubens so clearly be felt as in the Rubens House. Here you will feel as if you’re a personal guest of the master painter. Rubens himself lived here, and it takes little imagination to imagine him in his studio or at the table with his wife and children. Or strolling and philosophising in the beautiful garden, which is still a well-hidden oasis in the city centre.

Address: Wapper 9-11, 2000 Antwerp