The Paleis op de Meir or Palace on the Meir in Antwerp will open its door for the public from 13 April until 9 May. This temporary opening is linked to the celebrations of 800 years of Antwerp city rights.
The palace was constructed for Johan Alexander van Susteren in 1745. Architect was Jan Pieter van Baurscheit. Emperor Napoleon I had the palace refurbished in Empire style. Antwerp and the Low Countries were part of France in 1812. The present-day province of Antwerp was part of the département des Deux-Nèthes.
After Napoleon, King William I of the Netherlands used the palace as a residence. Belgium was part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands between 1815 and 1830.
When Belgium became an independent kingdom in 1830, the kings used the palace to receive foreign dignitaries.
The now controversial King Leopold II had the palace again refurbished and a Hall of Mirrors installed.
At the start of World War I in 1914, Antwerp was briefly the capital of unoccupied Belgium. King Albert I and Queen Elisabeth (with an s, yes) used it as a Royal Palace.
The royal family kept the palace until 1969, until King Baudouin ceded it to the state.
The Palace is now managed by Flanders‘ heritage trust Herita. A new formal usage has to be decided.
Source: Onroerend Erfgoed Stad Antwerpen
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