After three years, the front of Antwerp City Hall has been freed from its scaffolding. Renovation works are far from finished though.
The Stadhuis was is dire need of renovation and modernization works.
Erected between 1561 and 1565 after designs made by Cornelis Floris de Vriendt and several other architects and artists, this Renaissance building incorporates both Flemish and Italian influences. The City Hall is inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List along with the belfries of Belgium and France.
Over the centuries, obviously, the building was renovated and modernized. The last big works dated from the 1970-1980s.
Now, under supervision of the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA), the 19th century marble additions by Pierre Bruno Bourla were inspected and treated.
The interior is far from finished. This is the 21st Century so there’s a need for new wiring and IT solutions for the Schoon Verdiep (Bel Étage or Piano Nobile). The city council hall, the wedding hall and the mayor’s office are being restored as well.
The ground floor will be open to the public.
Coats of arms
I’ve always been fascinated by the coats of arms on the façade. On the left, there’s the Duchy of Brabant (“Sable, a lion rampant or, armed and langued gules“) on the left, the Margraviate of Antwerp (the black double eagle and the Antwerp castle) on the right and some Habsburg Spanish coat of arms in the middle.
I finally looked it up. Those are the coat of arms used by Charles II of Spain, used between 1668 and 1700.
- the yellow tower on red for Castile;
- the red lion on white for Leon;
- the yellow and red stripes , plus the yellow and red stripes with the black eagle (Sicily) for Aragon;
- the pomegranate for Granada;
- Red and white stripes for Austria (and Burgundy);
- the red, yellow, blue combination and the fleur-de-lys for Burgundy and Franche-Comté;
- the black lion on yellow for Flanders;
- the red eagle on white for Tyrol;
- the Brabantian lion.
Sources: Gazet van Antwerpen and Wikipedia.
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