Antwerp is the place to be to admire Rubens
Love architecture? Visit Flanders on a cultural trip in 2018-2020 when the Flemish Masters will be taking centre stage.
Many prestigious museums are home to the works of Rubens. And although Antwerp isn't the only place where they are on display, the city is well worth a visit. Antwerp offers a unique experience to see how Rubens lived, where he drew his inspiration from, and what his city looked like. The beautiful Rubens House is open to visitors. A large part of Antwerp's historic city centre hasn't changed since the 17th century. Really experience Rubens and visit Antwerp.
Take a stroll with me
Even in Ruben's time, the secret Vlaeykensgang, which dates back to 1591, already existed so it is quite possibe that Rubens walked through it. The passageway houses the exclusive restaurant named after Rubens' top student, Sir Anthony Van Dyck.
Rubens was not a lover of Gothic architecture, which he considered to be outdated. A visit to Antwerp, however, would not be complete without admiring the stunning cathedral. Rubens painted four masterpieces for this church which can still be admired there. In 2018, this permanent exhibition will be made even more accessible for everyone.
Luckily for Rubens, Antwerp in those days had, aside from Gothic architecture an array of buildings that also portrayed the classic perfection of the Renaissance. The most beautiful examples are the Town Hall, the Hessenhuis and Conscience Square. The flamboyant Baroque architecture which Rubens helped to introduce in Antwerp is evident in Rubens House – which he designed himself – St Carolus Borromeus church, St Paul's church, St Andrew's church and St James' church.
But that's not where it ends. Antwerp's university quarter also has some true gems, including palazzo Hof van Liere, a palace which is owned by the university itself. Also worth a visit is the Rockox House, a palazzo belonging to one of Rubens' good friends. And definitely don't forget to walk past the impressive gate of town house Schockaert at 33 Mutsaardstraat. If you're still yearning for more, I would suggest taking a break in the courtyard of the Groote Witte Arend, followed by a visit to yet another palazzo, the Plantin Moretus printers. Time for something a little different? Why not go shopping in some of the impressive palazzi at the Meir?