The MAS Antwerp is one of the most prestigious museums of the city. MAS stands for Museum aan de Stroom, which means museum by the river.
Every year thousands of tourists, from all around the world, and locals visit this museum.
When the city decided to build the MAS, the overall idea was that it would show us the connection between Antwerp, the world and the people. It would show us how the river connected, and still connects, the city with the world and vica versa. Antwerp in the world and the world in Antwerp. Through the river, an exchange of ideas, goods and people became possible.
The MAS Antwerp has lots to offer. It’s not just what’s inside, but also what’s outside and around the museum.
The MAS is built beautifully. Every time I pass, I’m amazed about all the facets that you see.
The design of the building was inspired on the 19th century warehouses that bordered the old port. The building is 10 floors high, which means that when you’re standing on the top floor, you’re 60 meters above the ground!
The building seems to be built out of blocks that are stacked one on top of the other. On every floor you have these massive glass waving walls of 6 meters high. Waving glass…yes, just like the waves on the river and the sea. You see the connection?
Also, if you look closely, you will see that the façade of the building is completely covered with hundreds of hands, the symbol of Antwerp.
The MAS Antwerp showcases permanent and temporary exhibitions. Every floor has something different to show:
On the 2nd floor, you will see the Visible Storage. It’s the MAS behind the scenes, something that you will not see with many museums. It holds more than 180 000 collection pieces that are stacked, labelled and are waiting to be put on show.
On the 4th floor, you will see the Display of Power. It looks further into the prestige and symbols that come with power, all over the world and all over time.
On the 5th floor, we have Antwerp à la Carte. It’s about the invisible trail of food. This is a temporary exhibition.
On the 6th floor, you will learn about our port and its history. The Port of Antwerp is one of the biggest in the world.
On the 7th floor, You will encounter Life & Death. How do other people from other times, cultures and religions look at the end of life. It’s about the Gods and mankind.
On the 8th floor, you will discover art from Pre-Columbian America. This is the world-famous collection from Paul & Dora Janssen-Arts. It’s about the extraordinary relationship between man and the world of gods, ancestors and spirits in America before the conquest of Europe.
Yes! Once you’re on top, you will have the most amazing 360 degrees view of Antwerp, the river Scheldt and the Port of Antwerp.
What is also good to know, is that the walking boulevard you take from the ground floor to the top floor is always freely accessable. So, even if you don’t want to see the exhibitions, you can still go up to the top.
And... did you know that the MAS Antwerp allows you to have a picnic on the top floor?! You can even borrow a picnic blanket at the entrance to get comfortable!
Now that you’re standing on the top, look down to the museum square.
There you will see an enormous 1600m2 mosaic of a Dead Skull. It is a piece of art made by a fascinating artist from Antwerp, Luc Tuymans.
To read more about Luc Tuymans, click here.
On the 9th floor of the MAS Antwerp, we have a 2 Michelin star restaurant, named 't Zilte.
Viki Geunes is the head-chef and the Michelin guide mentions this about the restaurant: The personality and talent of the chef and his team is evident in the expertly crafted dishes, which are refined, inspired and sometimes original.
His restaurant has officially the highest kitchen in the city!
For more information, visit its website here.
On the ground floor around the MAS, you will also see several pavilions. They are about Antwerp in these days. There is the Port of Antwerp pavilion and the Diamond pavilion.
Next to the MAS Antwerp, you will find an extensive shop full of books, art, souvenirs, gifts, clothing, memorabilia and so on. Good thing to know, with your Antwerp City Card you get a free MAS pencil!
The Mas Antwerp is situated in the neighbourhood 'Het Eilandje', which means 'little island'. The building has the Bonaparte Dock on one side, and the Willem Dock on the other side. It’s official address is Hanzestedenplaats 1.
In the summer, which means from the 1st of April till the 31st of October:
The museum galleries are open from 10 am till 5 pm. On Saturday and Sunday, the galleries stay open until 6 pm.
The boulevard and the panorama are open from 9.30 am till 12 pm.
In the winter, which means the 1st of November till the 31st of March:
The museum galleries are open from 10 am till 5 pm.
The boulevard and the panorama are open from 9.30 am till 10 pm.
The whole building will be closed on every Monday and on 01/01, 01/05, 15/08, 01/11, 25/12 of every year.
The museum galleries with the permanent and temporary exhibitions of the MAS Antwerp are always paying, it’s 10 euro per adult. If you have an Antwerp City Card, you go in for free! Click here to get your Antwerp City Card.
The walking boulevard to the panorama on the top is always free.
Also good to know, every last Wednesday of the month, you will have free entrance to the museum galleries.
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