About the museum
Fritz Mayer van den Bergh collected some 6,000 works of art in the space of barely ten years. After his sudden death in 1901, his mother Henriette was left with her son’s unfulfilled wish: to open a museum devoted to his breathtaking collection. She accomplished that wish in 1904, since when the Mayer van den Bergh Museum has been a mother’s intimate homage to her deceased son.
A museum by connoisseurs, for connoisseurs
Visitors to the museum enter a world full of paintings, altarpieces, sculpture, manuscripts and tapestries. Each one displayed in an atmospheric interior, full of delicate little art treasures. Most of all, you sense Fritz’s passion and his connoisseur’s eye, together with a mother’s love for her son. The masterpieces include one of the greatest works in Western cultural history: Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s Mad Meg (‘Dulle Griet’).
Not to be missed
Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s Mad Meg (‘Dulle Griet’), 1563.
‘Mad Meg’ is Bruegel’s most mysterious painting. The meaning of this volcanic work has yet to be deciphered. It is the museum’s absolute masterpiece, Fritz’s purchase of which in 1894 was a boyhood dream come true. Since the painting’s conservation treatment, its stunning colours and tiny details are once again visible.
Christ and St John group by Master Heinrich of Constance, c. 1280–90
This life-size statue of Christ and his young apostle John is a unique work, which stands out for its exceptional emotional power.
The family portraits of Cornelis de Vos, c. 1625
This series of paintings of the Vekemans family offers an especially luxurious domestic snapshot of 17th-century Antwerp. It was painted by the celebrated portraitist Cornelis de Vos and consists of five panels, all of which can be seen in the museum.
The museum’s impressive library
Fritz Mayer van den Bergh wanted to create a welcoming, homely atmosphere in his museum – something new for the time. His mother fulfilled his wish after his death. Today’s museum still has a special charm due to its historical furnishings, including the gold leather wall coverings, the magnificently crafted cupboards and doors and the imposing mantelpieces.
Henriette’s salon and studio
Henriette used these rooms to serve tea to important visitors and deal with her museum-related correspondence. The portrait of her at the age of 19 also hangs here. The atmosphere is perfect for the displayed selection of Chinese porcelain, Delft pottery, Japanese items and beautiful textile fragments.
- From 9 March 2021 until the end of 2022
- Individual visitors only
A museum as homage: this is what Henriette van den Bergh (1838–1920) achieved in the space of barely three years. After the sudden death of her son Fritz, she realized his unfulfilled wish: to open a museum devoted to his breathtaking collection. High time for a rendez-vous with this visionary woman. Meet Henriette is presented in the museum’s salon and studio, where you can get to know Mrs Van den Bergh and her eventful life-story in words and pictures.
More details of the presentation can be found here.
The Mayer van den Bergh Museum is working behind the scenes on the museum’s expansion. More news on the scope and timing will be available here shortly.
The Mayer van den Bergh Museum organizes a guided tour for groups of adults. Groups with their own guides are not permitted.
- Max. 10 persons per guide while Covid restrictions apply
- Max. 15 persons per guide when Covid restrictions are lifted
NL – ENG – FR – DUI – SP – IT
Price guided tour
€ 105; not including museum entry fee (€ 8 p.p. or, for groups of 12 or more: € 6 p.p.) The museum has a listening system, so that the guide can be heard perfectly.
+32 3 205 56 05
More information about the tour of the museum’s permanent collection is available here.
Address, opening hours, accessibility
You can find all the practical information about our address, opening hours and accessibility here.
Getting here by bus
The D’Herbouvillekaai coach park: free, no booking required. The new coach park is located to the south of Antwerp. There is a Kiss-and-Ride zone at the Plantinkaai, where coach drivers can also stop to drop off and collect visitors to the city. Gedempte Zuiderdokken coach park: paid parking, intended for short stays.
Coming to Antwerp by car? Please bear in mind that the whole of central Antwerp is a Low Emission Zone. Register your car before setting off for Antwerp and check whether you’re allowed to enter the LEZ.
NB: group visits can’t be booked for the time being because of the Covid-19 epidemic. When group visits are permitted once more, the number of participants will be limited for as long as Covid restrictions are in place.
Details of how to book guides can be found under ‘Tours’.
Audio tours are available in Dutch, French, German and English. Audio guides can be borrowed, provided you use your own Android earbuds or headphones with a mini-jack connection. Wireless earbuds and headphones cannot be connected. Audio guides are disinfected after each use.
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Nadia De Vree
+ 32 475 36 71 96
Marketing & communication
+ 32 485 37 35 11