The Rubenshuis has been undergoing a major transformation since 2016 and the work will not be completed until 2030. The alterations and the reopening are being carried out in phases. At the same time, the ambitions of the new concept are becoming clearer – improved accessibility, more space, extra facilities and maximum comfort and convenience, both for visitors and for the collection itself.  


Many challenges, but a single solution that ticks all the boxes

How can as many people as possible experience Rubens's universe in the best possible conditions? That was the question that the City of Antwerp placed before the Flemish Government Architect back in 2016. The reception at the Rubenshuis was too small, the historical residence wasn't accessible to everyone, the collection needed to be preserved more effectively and even the museum's own staff hardly had space to breathe. Step by step, the sustainable, all-encompassing concept by the architects Robbrecht and Daem would change that situation.  


Phase 1 | January 2022 to May 2024 


From the commercial heart of Antwerp, you enter into another world. The new entrance at Hopland 13 is easily able to absorb the flows of visitors making their way to the museum and thanks to the additional facilities, offers much more comfort and an improved experience. The entire building is also hypermodern. That's only logical, seeing as Rubens himself was a fan of forward-looking architecture. 

He would certainly appreciate the palazzo in its modern form. What is more, if you look carefully, you can immediately recognise the artist's hand. On the one hand, this building brings you face to face with the facts, while also giving you scope to dream. You can get to see what Rubens was like as a person, but also who he could have been today. You can dive into his past, but can associate him with the world we know today more than was ever possible in the past, by visiting the Rubens Experience, the library and the adjoining garden.  


The new entrance in figures


  • 2,600 m² surface area
  • 4,000m³ of ground to be excavated
  • 8 storeys
  • 28 meters deep are the foundations
  • 10 meters deep is the basement
  • 1,400m³ in-situ concrete; approx. 9m³ per concrete mixer
  • 350 tons of reinforcing steel, of which 200 tons to be woven on site and 150 tons in precast concrete elements
  • 20 geothermal drillings at a depth of 150m
  • 456 columns with a diameter of 18cm and a height of 420cm on the ground floor and 340cm on the upper floors
  • 800m² of glass
  • 48 solar panels
  • 700 liters of paint for the painting


Explore the entire building 


Phase 1 | The garden: October 2022 to June 2024 


Amid the busy life of the city, the garden is a source of calm. It has been recreated based on historical research, but it also fulfils all the sustainability standards of today. Almost 17,500 new plants, trees, shrubs, bushes and bulbs form a museum in the open air. The garden also provides colour all year round, thanks to the planting advice from the Belgian fashion designer, Dries Van Noten.  

This green oasis smooths the way between the new building and the ​​artist's residence, which is still being restored. The contemporary and accessible design by Ars Horti is based on classical baroque gardens from the 17th century and is supplemented by the many anecdotes about the pleasant moments that Rubens had here with family, friends, assistants and important clients. 


The new garden in figures


  • 17,427 new plants in total
  • 39 trees
  • 5,441 perennials
  • 631 climbing plants
  • 10,452 bulbs and cottage plants
  • 346 shrubs
  • 438 hedge plants
  • 30 orangery plants
  • 50 water plants 


Come and sample the atmosphere for yourself

Artist's residence

Phase 2 | 2022 to approx. 2030 


The thorough renovation of Ruben's dwelling house will last for a few more years, which means that its doors will stay locked for the time being. Not until 2030 will they swing open once again and will the public be able to take an unashamed look in the kitchen, the washroom and the bedrooms of the Rubens family. The house will also be much more accessible, thanks to the extra room for manoeuvre, the new sanitary facilities and the discreetly hidden lift.  

The adaptations are necessary so that the museum can continue welcoming visitors in the future in a pleasant way. A state-of-the-art climate control system will also create the best conditions for the collection of paintings. Sustainable facilities and low-energy technologies will make the building into what Rubens himself already saw in it – an ideal location for exhibitions, presentations and international meetings.  


Discover Rubens's house


Phase 2 | 2023 to approx. 2030 


In the 17th century, the building behind the Rubenshuis was the base of the Antwerp Guild of Crossbowmen. Members of this local shooting fraternity gathered there to practise shooting and to relax. Later on, it housed the library of the Rubenianum. This has since been relocated to Hopland, so the Kolveniershof is now being given a new purpose. 

As their neighbour, Rubens often got together with the guild around a table. After completing a painting for their altar in Antwerp Cathedral, he was given the title of honorary member. This was therefore sufficient reason to carry out a thorough restoration of the Kolveniershof and include it as part of the Rubenshuis. From 2030 onwards, you will be able to go there for workshops, lectures and other events. 

The cost

For phase 1, the city of Antwerp is investing 15.8 million euros. Tourism Flanders is paying 4 million euros.

For phase 2, the cost is estimated at 32.5 million euros.