Antwerp, the Silicon Valley of the 16th century
Rubens worked and lived in Antwerp. Nowhere else in the world can you feel the greatness of Rubens as well as here. The city already played an important role in the 16th century. It was like Silicon Valley is today, a place where knowledge, craftsmanship and technology come together.
Book printing was the mass media of the day
The art of printing was the mass media of the day. If you visit Antwerp, I definitely recommend visiting the Rubens House, where the painter worked and lived. Also, the Plantin-Moretus printing plant is a must-visit when in Antwerp. Rubens, who was friends with Balthasar Moretus, often visited the family house, which also served as a printing factory. Both places are located in beautiful city palaces in the middle of the city and are therefore easy to combine. The printing works is the only UNESCO World Heritage museum in the world. It's also a recommended place to visit with children, who can themselves carry out the work of printers.
"Pay a visit to Antwerp. Nowhere else in the world can you feel the greatness of Rubens as well as you can here."
Books played an important role in Rubens's life. He was an intellectual and an avid collector. Would you like to see more books after visiting the printing works? If so, Copyright is one of the most beautiful bookstores in Antwerp and highly recommended. Or, marvel at the architecture and heritage collections of our Flemish libraries. A real hidden gem is the Nottebohm hall of the Antwerp Heritage Library Hendrik Conscience (check the activities in advance, because the hall is not always open). The St. Carolus Borromeus Church is located on the same square, for which Rubens not only made beautiful paintings. He was also involved in the interior and exterior decoration of this Baroque temple.
Do you like the scent of paper and the rustling of turning pages?
In Flanders, the art cities are close together. Do you like the scent of paper and the rustling of turning pages? Then I can recommend the following places.
In addition to books, the Royal Library of Brussels also has a large heritage collection. You can admire the appointed work rooms of architect Henry Van de Velde and the authors Michel de Ghelderode and Emile Verhaeren.
Or visit the beautiful bookstore Tropismes and the Librairie Saint Hubert in the Saint Hubertus gallery.
The Book Tower in Ghent, completed in 1942, is an architectural monument. It is designed by the Belgian architect Henry Van de Velde and is the most striking example of modernist architecture in Ghent. The Book Tower is currently undergoing necessary restoration works and is expected to re-open in late 2020.