The Best Museums in Antwerp Revealed (Uncover Hidden Gems)

Antwerp town hall

Antwerp, known for its rich history and culture, is an art lover’s paradise. With its wide range of museums, from traditional fine arts to contemporary fashion, there’s something for everyone. In this blog post, we’ll take you on a journey through the best museums in Antwerp, uncovering hidden gems and indulging in Belgium’s finest culinary and brewing traditions. Get ready to embark on a cultural adventure like no other!

Key Takeaways

  • Explore Antwerp’s iconic art scene, from the Royal Museum of Fine Arts to MAS and Rubens House.

  • Uncover the city’s unique heritage at museums like Red Star Line and Plantin Moretus, or enjoy outdoor art experiences in Middelheim Open Air Museum & Het Steen Museum.

  • Indulge in Belgium’s culinary traditions with Chocolate Nation & De Koninck Brewery tours, plus explore contemporary fashion through FOMU & MoMu!

Exploring Antwerp’s Rich Art Scene

Art enthusiasts, brace yourselves for an extraordinary experience in Antwerp! From the world-class Royal Museum of Fine Arts to the interactive MAS | Museum aan de Stroom, there’s no shortage of unique Antwerp museums to explore. Rich in Belgian art, these museums not only showcase the masterpieces of Peter Paul Rubens and other renowned artists but also provide a platform for contemporary art and design. So, whether you’re an art collector or a casual visitor, Antwerp’s museums will surely leave you amazed and inspired.

Make a point to visit the remarkable Rubens House, the former home and studio of Peter Paul Rubens. This small museum offers a unique glimpse into the life and works of one of the most influential artists in history. Furthermore, Antwerp’s art scene showcases the fantastic DIVA Antwerp, a museum dedicated to the city’s rich diamond heritage. With so many amazing museums, a cultural trip to Antwerp is guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience.

Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp

Fine Arts Museum in Antwerp
Fine Arts Museum in Antwerp

The Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp is the crown jewel of Antwerp’s art scene. Boasting an extensive collection of Belgian art, including masterpieces by Rubens and Van Dyck, this museum is a must-visit for any art lover. Its vast collection spans from the Renaissance to contemporary art, and the museum also hosts temporary exhibitions, ensuring that there’s always something new to discover.

Remember to explore the Rubenshuis, the former residence and studio of Peter Paul Rubens. Located in the heart of Antwerp’s historic center, this museum offers a nostalgic journey through the life and works of the famous Flemish painter. While the Royal Museum of Fine Arts is currently closed for renovation, you can still enjoy a virtual tour of the Rubenshuis and immerse yourself in the world of Rubens until its reopening in 2027.

MAS | Museum aan de Stroom

MAS Museum in Antwerp
MAS Museum in Antwerp

MAS | Museum aan de Stroom ranks high in the list of museums to visit in Antwerp. It offers a unique experience that anyone should not miss. This interactive museum connects the past and present of Antwerp, offering a unique insight into the city’s history and culture. MAS, with its engaging exhibitions and stunning panoramic views of the city, is loved by locals and tourists alike.

From ancient artifacts to contemporary artworks, MAS showcases the rich diversity of Antwerp’s heritage. The museum’s innovative approach to storytelling makes it an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages. If you wish to delve into Antwerp’s history and culture, include MAS | Museum aan de Stroom in your itinerary.

Unveiling Antwerp’s History

History buffs, prepare to be mesmerized by Antwerp’s fascinating past. The city’s museums offer a wealth of knowledge and stories about its people, industries, and global connections. From the Red Star Line Museum, which sheds light on the experiences of European immigrants who traveled to North America, to the Plantin Moretus Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage site that highlights the history of printing, Antwerp’s history comes alive through these captivating institutions.

Whether you’re intrigued by the city’s role in the diamond trade, the golden age of printing, or the lives of countless immigrants who left their mark on the world, Antwerp’s museums have it all. Prepare to traverse time and uncover the rich history beneath this vibrant city’s surface.

Red Star Line Museum

red star line museum in antwerp
Red Star Line Museum

The Red Star Line Museum is a testament to Antwerp’s global impact and the resilience of its people. This fascinating museum tells the story of European immigrants who set sail to North America for a better life. Through interactive exhibits and personal narratives, visitors can step into the shoes of these brave individuals and experience their journey firsthand.

The Red Star Line was a significant shipping company between the 1870s and 1930s, transporting over two million passengers to the New World. By exploring the museum’s cabins and browsing through photographs, visitors can gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and triumphs faced by these immigrants. Take the chance to learn about this significant chapter in Antwerp’s history at the Red Star Line Museum.

Plantin Moretus Museum

Plantin Moretus Museum in Antwerp
Plantin Moretus Museum in Antwerp

The Plantin Moretus Museum is an exceptional UNESCO World Heritage site that celebrates the history of printing and the influence of the Plantin Moretus family on the book industry. Located in the heart of Antwerp’s historic downtown, the museum houses some of the oldest printing presses in the world, offering visitors a unique glimpse into the past.

The impact of the Plantin Moretus family’s printing skills on disseminating knowledge across Europe cannot be overstated. Their work revolutionized access to information by producing atlases, dictionaries, and medical books. Visitors can easily spend hours exploring the family’s history, examining the intricacies of the printing presses, and admiring the beautifully maintained residence and courtyard. The Plantin Moretus Museum is truly a treasure trove of knowledge and history.

Outdoor Art Experiences

For art lovers who prefer natural settings, Antwerp offers unique outdoor museums that beautifully combine art and nature. The Middelheim Open Air Museum, with its extensive collection of sculptures, and Het Steen Museum, showcasing diverse European artworks, invite visitors to appreciate art in breathtaking natural environments.

As you stroll through the serene parks and gardens that house these art museums, including a contemporary art museum, you’ll be surrounded by a diverse range of artworks that seamlessly blend with their surroundings. These outdoor art experiences, a refreshing alternative to traditional indoor galleries, offer an immersive experience for art lovers and nature enthusiasts.

Middelheim Open Air Museum

Art enthusiasts shouldn’t overlook the Middelheim Open Air Museum, a hidden gem in Antwerp. This free outdoor museum features over 100 sculptures in a peaceful park setting. With works by renowned artists such as Auguste Rodin, Rik Wouters, and Henry Moore, the Middelheim Open Air Museum offers a unique and tranquil art experience.

The museum’s collection at Middelheim Museum is constantly changing, with new sculptures added twice a year, ensuring there’s always something new to discover. From modern abstract pieces to classic bronze statues, the Middelheim Open Air Museum provides visitors with an eclectic mix of art to enjoy while strolling through the picturesque park.

Het Steen Museum

Het Steen, Antwerp
Het Steen, Antwerp

Het Steen Museum presents another exceptional outdoor art experience in Antwerp. This museum features a diverse collection of European artworks displayed in an outdoor setting, allowing visitors to explore the rich history and cultural influence of the region while enjoying the beautiful surroundings.

The museum’s collection includes works from various artistic periods, providing a comprehensive overview of European art history. As you wander through the scenic grounds of Het Steen Museum, you’ll be transported through time, discovering the unique stories and inspirations behind each artwork. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience art and history together in this enchanting outdoor museum.

Indulging in Belgium’s Finest

Belgium is renowned for its culinary and brewing traditions, and Antwerp is no exception. From the world’s largest Belgian chocolate museum, Chocolate Nation, to the interactive De Koninck Brewery, Antwerp offers visitors a chance to indulge in the country’s finest offerings. With immersive tours, tastings, and hands-on experiences, these museums celebrate the artistry and craftsmanship behind Belgium’s beloved chocolate and beer.

Whether you’re a chocoholic curious about the history and production of Belgian chocolate or a beer enthusiast keen to explore the brewing process, Antwerp’s museums have something to satisfy your cravings. Prepare to treat your taste buds and immerse yourself in the delicious world of Belgian chocolate and beer.

Chocolate Nation

Chocolate Nation
Chocolate Nation

All chocolate lovers should visit Chocolate Nation. This immersive museum tells the captivating story of Belgian chocolate culture, from traditional to modern production methods. With interactive exhibits, hands-on workshops, and tastings, visitors can delve deep into the world of chocolate and explore its rich history and innovations.

The museum offers a comprehensive journey through the various stages of chocolate-making, including the cultivation of cocoa beans, the art of crafting exquisite chocolate creations, and the evolution of production techniques over time. With its impressive collection of chocolate artifacts and delightful tastings, Chocolate Nation is a sweet escape for anyone seeking to indulge in the finest Belgian chocolate.

De Koninck Brewery

De Koninck Brewery
De Koninck Brewery – image via Andrew Nash

De Koninck Brewery is a crowd-pleaser in Antwerp, offering an exciting glimpse into the history and craftsmanship of Belgian beer. With interactive brewery tours, beer tastings, and engaging exhibits, De Koninck Brewery provides visitors an unforgettable experience.

Established in 1833, De Koninck Brewery has been an integral part of Antwerp’s brewing heritage. During the 90-minute tour, visitors can learn about the brewing process, the history of the brewery, and even sample some of their famous beers. With its fascinating story and mouthwatering brews, De Koninck Brewery is a must-visit for anyone looking to indulge in the rich history and flavors of Belgian beer.

Contemporary Art in Antwerp

Antwerp boasts a wide range of museums for those who appreciate contemporary art and fashion, showcasing works by local and international artists and designers. The city’s thriving art scene is home to the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp, FOMU, and ModeMuseum (MoMu), each offering a unique perspective on the world of contemporary art and design.

These museums not only display impressive collections of cutting-edge art, photography, and fashion but also host lectures, workshops, and events that provide visitors with a deeper understanding of the creative process and the artists behind the work. If you’re looking to explore the vibrant world of contemporary art in Antwerp, these museums are not to be missed:

  • Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp (M HKA)

  • Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp

  • FOMU – Fotomuseum Antwerp

  • MoMu – Fashion Museum Antwerp


Anyone interested in the evolution of photography in Belgium should visit FOMU, the Antwerp Museum of Photography. The museum features a vast collection of:

  • photographs

  • glass plates

  • slides

  • negatives

  • press prints

  • pocket diaries

  • contact sheets

  • cameras

This offers a comprehensive overview of the country’s rich photographic heritage, including its remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

In addition to its permanent collection, FOMU hosts a temporary exhibition showcasing the works of renowned photographers such as Aurélie Bayad, Herman Selleslags, Saul Leiter, and Zanele Muholi. The museum also offers lectures and workshops led by guest photographers, providing visitors with a unique opportunity to learn from the experts and gain a deeper appreciation for the art of photography.

ModeMuseum (MoMu)

Mode Museum in Antwerp
Mode Museum in Antwerp

Considered Antwerp’s premier fashion museum, ModeMuseum (MoMu) displays a strong collection of couture and historical clothing pieces from local and international designers. The museum’s changing exhibitions focus on specific designers or themes, offering visitors an ever-evolving glimpse into the fashion world.

From avant-garde Belgian fashion to international haute couture, MoMu showcases the creativity and innovation that define the fashion industry. Whether you’re a fashion enthusiast or simply curious about the latest trends and designs, MoMu offers a fascinating look into the world of fashion, making it a must-visit destination during your time in Antwerp.

Tips for Visiting Antwerp’s Museums

Planning is key to maximizing your visit to Antwerp’s museums. It’s advisable to book tickets in advance, as many popular attractions have limited capacity and can fill up quickly. If you’re visiting multiple museums, consider purchasing the Antwerp City Pass or Museum Pass, which can provide free access and discounts to many of the city’s top attractions.

As you plan your museum visits, consider the following:

  • Check the opening hours of the museums you want to visit.

  • Look for any special events or exhibitions happening during your stay.

  • Take advantage of free museum days or discounted entry fees to save money while exploring Antwerp’s cultural offerings.


From its world-class art museums to its fascinating history and indulgent culinary experiences, Antwerp truly offers something for everyone. With so many excellent museums to explore, you’ll undoubtedly leave this vibrant city with a newfound appreciation for its rich cultural heritage and the creative minds that have shaped it. So pack your bags, gather your friends, and embark on an unforgettable adventure through Antwerp’s best museums!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Antwerp best known for?

Antwerp is renowned as the diamond capital of the world since 1447 and continues to be an integral part of the global diamond trade. Furthermore, it is known for its vibrant seaport and legacy in fine arts.

Is one day in Antwerp enough?

One day in Antwerp is enough to see the city’s highlights and get an overview of the area. Enjoy the sights and explore some attractions in a single day.

Is Antwerp good for tourists?

Antwerp is a great tourist destination with plenty to do, from exploring attractions to finding the best places to stay. It’s an ideal location for a vacation!

What is the best way to visit multiple museums in Antwerp?

Save money and time by getting a City Pass or Museum Pass to visit multiple museums in Antwerp.

Are there any outdoor art museums in Antwerp?

Yes, there are outdoor art museums in Antwerp – Middelheim Open Air Museum and Het Steen Museum.

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