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The Rubens House will receive a new 17 million building

The Rubens House in Antwerp will have a new reception and experience building in 2024. The current museum is bursting at the seams.

The new building will be built on Hopland on a vacant piece of land next to the garden of the current complex. According to the architectural firm Robbrecht & Daem, the tranquility and appearance of the garden are not disturbed.

The Rubens House has always had the problem that it is much more of a house than a museum. It offers the visitor a glimpse of Rubens’s life, but not the comfort and experience that today’s tourists are looking for.

A visit is nevertheless highly recommended, even if only for a beautifully restored self-portrait. The Rubens House is bursting at the seams with an ever-increasing number of visitors. In normal times there are about 200,000 visitors from all over the world.

‘As a museum it does not meet international standards. A visitor demands more than an exciting museum. There should also be a reception, information desk, cafeteria, sanitary facilities and museum shop. Better accessibility and climate control are also needed ‘, says director Ben Van Beneden.

Rubens, self-portrait, 1623-30
© Photo News

The new building should provide an answer to almost all these needs and provide more space for the Rubenianum research center, support services and a library.

The design by Robbrecht & Daem is a discreet ode to Rubens and a nod to the Rubens book collection that was once kept in that place. ‘It has the structure of two large bookcases facing each other. And it is characterized by the classic simplicity of the Italian palazzo, which Rubens admired, ‘says architect Paul Robbrecht.



In normal times, around 200,000 visitors from all over the world come to the Rubens House.

The project also includes the redesign of the garden and a number of renovations in the museum. The total cost is 17 million euros, mainly financed by the city of Antwerp and the Flemish government.

Tourism Flanders is contributing 2.9 million euros to the project. The Rubens House must become one of the spearheads to promote the Flemish masters abroad more.

The history of the Rubens House goes back to 1610, when the master bought the house. As an accomplished architect, he himself drew the plans for the extension with a painting studio and a portico as a connecting piece between house, studio and garden.

Rubens was very fond of classical antiquity and renaissance architecture. These styles come together in the new parts of the Rubens House. After Rubens’ death, the house was used for various purposes, including that of a prison. The city of Antwerp bought the building in 1937 and it became a museum after the Second World War.

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