MAS – Museum of the City, Antwerp

Hanzestedenplaats 1, Antwerp
Vlaams Gewest, Belgium
Phone: +32 3 338 44 00
closed on: Mondays, January 1, May 1, Ascension, November 1 and December 25
Museum Type: History / City

MAS (an acronym for Museum aan de Stroom, meaning Museum on the Stream in Flemish-Dutch) is the city history museum of Antwerp, Belgium.
Opened to the public in 2011 in Het Eilandje, the old port area of the city, the MAS’ 60-meter-high red building stands out as one of Antwerp’s most iconic landmarks.

cover-image: MAS, Antwerp; photo Filip Dujardin, courtesy of MAS

Designed by Neutelings Riedijk Architecten, the building of the museum is an imposing tower clad in Rajasthan’s red sandstone. The red color echoes that of the historical brick warehouses that once marked the Antwerp harbor and few of which survive today.
The museum’s building consists of a stack of ten stories, seven of which house a rectangular panoramic gallery contained in cantilevered volumes protruding from a central core with a sequence of escalators connecting all galleries.
The plan of every floor has been rotated a quarter turn, thus creating a spiral-like visiting path that culminates on a roof terrace and that, on each level, delivers expansive views of the city from always different points of view.

MAS Museum aan de Stroom Antwerp Neutelings Riedijk Architecten floor plans

MAS Museum, floor plans; images courtesy Neutelings Riedijk Architecten.


MAS, Antwerp; photo Filip Dujardin, courtesy of MAS

The facade cladding consists of over 9,000 sandstone panels, decorated with 3,185 metal hands, a reference to an ancient folk tale in which a giant living in Antwerp, named Druon Antigoon, cut off the hand of anyone who would not pay him a toll for crossing the river Scheldt.


Over 3,000 metal hands, a reference to the symbol of the city of Antwerp, decorate the facades of the museum. Photo Say Cheddar, CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

To provide the galleries of stunning views, their transparent facades are made up of s-shaped curved glass panels which also create a dynamic interplay with the massive stone-clad parts of the building envelope.

On a gross floor area of 20,000 square meters / 215,000 square feet, the museum contains an entrance hall, seven panoramic galleries, various exhibition halls, a conference room, workshops, administration offices, a cafe, and the Michelin-starred restaurant ‘t Zilte.

MAS Museum aan de Stroom Antwerp Neutelings Riedijk Architecten interior 3

View of Antwerp from the MAS. Photo by Eric Huybrechts  CC BY ND 2.0 / Flickr

Collections and exhibitions
The MAS Museum’s collection comprises over 500,000 pieces, including ethnographic objects from all over the world and pieces related to the history of the city of Antwerp from prehistory to the present. The collection reunites objects previously stored in various museums across the city, including the Ethnographic Museum, the National Maritime Museum, the Folk Museum, and The Paul and Dora Janssen-Arts collection of pre-Columbian art.
Pieces from the MAS collection are exhibited on a rotational basis in permanent and temporary thematic exhibitions.
The program of events of MAS features guided tours, educational activities for children and teens, and special events.


MAS, Antwerp. A view of one of the permanent collections.
Photo Bart Huysmans & Michel Wuyts, courtesy of MAS.

MAS Museum aan de Stroom Antwerp Neutelings Riedijk Architecten interior 2

A sequence of escalators connects the galleries creating a spiraling visiting path; photo by Fred Romero, CC BY 2.0 / Flickr


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