‘Renaissance Children’ exhibition at Museum Hof van Busleyden in Mechelen

Poster of the exhibition.

The Museum Hof van Busleyden in Mechelen holds the exhibition ‘Renaissance Children‘. Let’s have a look. 

For the Burgundian and the early Habsburg princes, the city Mechelen in the present-day Province of Antwerp was not only an important political and cultural hub but also an educational centre. 

Three consecutive generations of Habsburg princes and princesses, including Philip the Fair, Margaret of Austria and Charles V, spent part of their childhood here.

Charles V as King of Spain. Jan van Battel. Hof van Busleyden.

The exhibition ‘Renaissance Children’ gathers a unique selection of children’s portraits, which were commissioned for the court at Mechelen, for the very first time, as well as tell the historical, educational and artistic story behind them.

Portraits by such prominent painters as the Master of the Mechelen Guild of St. George and Jan Gossart will be exhibited alongside valuable manuscripts that were used to teach children to read and write, as well as treatises on education by Desiderius Erasmus and Juan Luis Vives, sixteenth-century children’s toys and rare jewellery that was said to protect the wearer against illness and death.

‘Renaissance Children’ highlights the instrumental role that the court at Mechelen played in the evolution of children’s portraiture and the humanistic ideas that have continued to influence the way in which we raise children today.

The exhibition

The exhibition is located in the second basement floor. It starts with introducing the main characters: Charles V, Margaret of Austria, Emperor Maximilian I, Margaret of York, Philip the Fair, Eleanor of Austria, Isabella of Austria and many more. 

The tour introduces you to the Burgundy and Habsburg dynasties, the Order of the Golden Fleece and then it moves to lay out the youth and education of this noble kids. 

It ends with a look at 19th century romanticism and how a young Kingdom of Belgium looked at its past. 

Unfortunately making photos wasn’t allowed. It must be a Habsburg thing, a s it was also not allowed at the Innsbruck Hofburg. It’s a shame because I love family trees, heraldry and portraits. 


I didn’t see an access to the rest of the museum. Maybe it wasn’t accessible due to coronavirus countermeasures. Or maybe I missed it. 

Hof van Busleyden

Hieronymus van Busleyden (Dutch: Jeroen van Busleyden; French: Jérôme de Busleyden) (c.1470 – 27 August 1517) was a patron of learning and a humanist from the Habsburg Netherlands.

He was a tutor to the future emperor Charles V.

The city palace was build in the first part of the 1500s. In 2018 it was reopened as a museum. 

Plan your visit. This exhibition stays until 4 July 2021.

Sources: Museum Hof van Busleyden, Wikipedia. 

32 Comments Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s