2022 in the museums of Antwerp 

Thanh being cultural.

The museums of the City of Antwerp are preparing to welcome visitors with open arms in 2022, while ensuring of the safety of the public and staff. Many of the exhibitions that opened in autumn 2021 will continue into 2022.

In a press release the culture and tourism department present the Antwerp museums’ plans for 2022.

In spring, the swirling sound of the harpsichord will resonate in the Museum Vleeshuis while the Red Star Line Museum commemorates the signing of the Geneva Convention of 28 July 1951 regarding refugees, while FOMU zooms in on the work of photographers Bertien van Manen and Diana Markosian

In the autumn, Museum Plantin-Moretus will reflect on hope, the resilience of people and the power of art in difficult times in an exhibition titled ‘Finis Terrae‘ while the Museum Aan de Stroom (MAS) attempts to find out what ‘home’ means to different people.


Keyboard Instruments

Museum Vleeshuis and the Snijders & Rockox House. From 26 March until 26 June 2022.

Antwerp was the undisputed harpsichord capital of the world between 1560 and 1660. Today Museum Vleeshuis is home to one of the largest collections of Antwerp harpsichords and virginals, inspiring the Museum Vleeshuis and the Snijders & Rockox House to join forces for an exciting exhibition and plenty of music.

Keyboard Instruments will run concurrently in the two museums. Besides harpsichords and virginals, Museum Vleeshuis will exhibit painted harpsichord and virginal lids, as well Sir Anthony van Dyck’s portrait of the keyboard virtuoso and composer Henricus Liberti

The Snijders & Rockox House will host an exhibition of paintings featuring harpsichords, virginals and organs by such artists as Maerten de Vos, the Francken family, Gabriel Metsu and Jan Steen

Other exhibits include historic Antwerp harpsichords and virginals. Moreover, the Vleeshuis commissioned a new CD on the occasion of keyboard Instruments, with recordings of harpsichord music performed by Mario Sarrechia. Virginals and harpsichords will also be in the spotlight during the well-known ‘Woensdagklanken‘ concert series, which runs from January until June. 

The museum has also partnered with Muziek in Sint-Paulus for three concerts in the margin of the Klavierfestival.



‘Stories of refuge, 1951-2021’

Red Star Line Museum. From 1 April 2022.

Seventy years ago, 24 countries signed the Refugee Convention in Geneva. After World War II, this convention defines the term refugee and outlines the right to asylum of these refugees. 

Today this key document still forms the basis of our refugee policy. There are approximately 80 million forcibly displayed persons on the move today. Their humanitarian plight continues to touch us deeply. On the occasion of the anniversary of the signing of the convention, the Red Star Line Museum is hosting an exhibition titled ‘Stories of Refuge 1951 – 2021’, a moving and confrontational journey through the real stories of people who came to Belgium in the past 70 years as refugees.

The exhibition explores what it means to be on the run, beyond laws and political agreements. What was the journey to Belgium like? How were they received? 

What did it feel like to build a new life here? What about the label ‘refugee’? Will you ever not be a refugee? Our witnesses share their frustrations, uncertainties and traumas, as well as stories of courage, resilience and perseverance. They also show us a selection of personal items, with significant symbolic and emotional value. To us, these may look like small, unimportant objects. But they often are the key to a moving, important, bigger story.

‘Stories of Refuge 1951 – 2021’ paints a kaleidoscopic picture of 70 years of refugee history, from the perspective of those who experienced what it is like to be a refugee. An exhibition that will make you pause to reflect.


Red Star Line Museum.

Bertien van Manen

FOMU. From 1 April until 28 August 2022.

Intimate, poetic, unpolished and deeply human. These are just a few of the many words of praise that people have used when discussing the work of Bertien van Manen (the Netherlands, 1942). 

Using a simple snapshot camera, van Manen succeeds in capturing the poignant intimacy of her subjects. Since the 1970s, the Dutch photographer has captured the daily lives of the many people she has during her extended trips around the world. From the Netherlands to China and from the former Soviet Union to the Appalachians

Van Manen is interested in the random clutter of commonplace scenes. The result is an impressive series of stories, which combine to create a visual diary.

The retrospective in FOMU takes you on a journey through her work, as you peek over her shoulder. The exhibition was developed in close collaboration with Van Manen and the graphic designer Hans Gremmen, who spent 18 months looking through her archive to create a reference work of her oeuvre, titled Archive (MACK, 2021). 


Diana Markosian – ‘Santa Barbara’

FOMU. From 1 April until 28 August 2022

The FOMU is hosting the European premiere of the ‘Santa Barbara‘ project by talented photographer and filmmaker Diana Markosian (Russia and Armenia, b. 1989). Markosian tells the compelling and surprising story of her family’s real-life move when Markosian’s mother decided to migrate to the United States from Russia in the mid-nineties. 

Watching the soap opera ‘Santa Barbara’ in Moscow, Diana Markosian decided to go in search of a better life, both for herself and her two children, in this mythical place. In this long-term project, Markosian attempts to understand the choices and sacrifices that her mother made. She invites spectators to step into her family’s collective memory, using archival family materials, to reconstruct her family’s story in a scripted film or soap, together with the original makers of the series.

Santa Barbara was previously shown at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the International Center of Photography in New York. The eponymous book is published by Aperture.


Dance at FOMU.

Artists in the Nottebohm Room

Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library. Summer and autumn of 2022.

In the summer, the historic Nottebohm Room will engage in a dialogue with two contemporary artists. From 15 June until 11 September, Camiel Van Breedam (b. 1936, Boom) will show a series of collages that refer to the world of book publishing. They illustrate the special relationship and love that the artist has with books as a medium and object. 

From November 2022 until February 2023, the Heritage Library will serve as an exhibition space for the ‘Finis Terrae’ exhibition. The artist Jeffe De Brabandere (b. 1998, Borgerhout) will show new work, drawing on the library and its collection for inspiration.


Nottebohm Room.

‘Finis Terrae’

Museum Plantin-Moretus. From 28 October 2022 until 29 January 2023.

Five years after the successful ‘Ecce Homo’ project, Yasmine Geukens and Marie-Paule De Vil of Antwerp gallery Geukens & De Vil will join forces with Eric Rinckhout and Lien Craps to create their second major group show in various locations around Antwerp.

More than ever, the limits of our world are being exposed. Global emergencies force us to reflect on the importance of our planet and the core values of our society. Moreover, a crisis sets minds in motion. ‘Finis Terrae’ looks at our world today, highlighting hope, the resilience of people and the power of art.

The organisers have purposefully chosen contemporary Belgian artists and contemporary artists who live and work in Belgium.


Museum Plantin-Moretus.

Anybody home?

MAS, December 2022

The MAS has partnered with Antwerp theatre company Studio Orka to create a brand-new exhibition titled ‘Anybody home?’. The exhibition, which opens at the end of 2022, will make visitors think about what ‘home’ means. 

Whether there’s more to a home than four walls and a roof, what makes someone feel at home, how this is different for everyone, what happens when you no longer have a home… With collection pieces from the MAS and stories from Antwerp residents of all ages, the exhibition show how everyone’s experience is different. ‘Anybody home?’ is an interactive, imaginative exhibition, which will make people of all ages think about what home means to them.


Museum Aan de Stroom.

Reopening of the permanent collection of DIVA

DIVA. 8 December 2021.

The municipal archives of the City of Antwerp contain plenty of documents that attest to Antwerp’s magnificent diamond history. The first document dates from 1447. In 2022, Antwerp and diamonds will have been inextricably linked for at least 575 years. DIVA, the Museum for Diamonds, Jewellery and Silver, is celebrating this exciting event with an ‘overhaul’ of its permanent collection. 

On 8 December 2022, DIVA’s galleries will reopen to the public and visitors will be able to experience the impact of the diamond trade and craftsmanship, both in terms of diamonds and goldsmithing, on the city of Antwerp first-hand. Both then and now. 

The exhibition takes visitors on a journey. The galleries all have introductory texts and the collection’s highlights are centrally featured. The making of objects, the manufacturing process, will come to life, in sound and images. 

DIVA will also showcase other collection pieces, with an increased emphasis on contemporary jewellery and silver design. The display cases will be adapted to enhance visibility and the silverware collection will be presented in a different way to highlight the use of items. 

Finally, the museum will also open a new gallery, which zooms in on the various raw materials used to create the objects in this museum, namely diamonds, gold and silver. The gallery will also focus on how the ethical concerns and how the industry deals with them.

In anticipation of the reopening on 8 December 2022, DIVA will open an information centre, museum shop and mini exhibition with a VR experience in Antwerp’s Grote Markt. Visitors can take a virtual walk through the museum’s permanent collection and will already get a taste of what’s to come when DIVA reopens later in the year.  




The MoMu is forced to temporarily close again at the end of January 2022 for structural adjustments to the climate control in the depots and the exhibition galleries. 

To give everyone an opportunity to visit the exhibition and the museum before it closes, the MoMu is hosting several evening openings. 

On Thursday 13 and 20 January and Saturday 15 and 22 January 2022, the museum will exceptionally close at 10 pm. The opening hours of the MoMu Café will also be extended on these occasions.

Art and museums in Antwerp

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