The Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, KMSKA, reopened its doors after 11 years of refurbishment works.
The museum is now significantly larger, and €100 million has been spent on the works creating a fabulous new home to store a rich collection that spans Rubens to Tuymans.
The original budget of €44m had to be more than doubled, but given the new size of the museum of 21,000 square meters, the price tag is not judged to be exorbitant by international comparison.
The closure allowed Antwerp to lend many works to other museums. Other works were restored.
Much of the exterior has remained the same, but Dutch architects KAAN fitted a new modern high-rise ceiling into the building, where works from the collection dating after 1890 are displayed.
“A classical museum usually revolves around chronology. That means going from old to new. We, on the other hand, opt for a thematic arrangement, around accessible themes, as here, for example, in this room around the theme of light,” said Nico Van Hout, a curator at KMSKA.
Antwerp's Royal Museum of Fine Arts holds 6,500 works, including art by Ensor, Permeke, Memling, and van der Weyden.
It has also commissioned new contemporary art and has installed a special children's trail.
The gallery anticipates 300,000 will visit the site this year alone.