City Hall Antwerp – a renaissance palace

City Hall Antwerp

Cornelis de Vriendt

Antwerp, Grote Markt

1561 – 1565

 

The statue of Brabo stands in front of an important building in Antwerp: the town hall. Two years ago, in 2015 it existed 450 years. You should see it at the top of the middle section, there it is: 1564 …

1406 – first city hall

The building on the Grote Markt is not our first city hall. The first town hall was on the corner of Suikerrui and Grote Markt. You can see this building on a painting by Gillis Mostaert. At the beginning of the 16th century, the town hall was in a bad condition and became too small, it was demolished. Now it’s a square on the left of the town hall. From 1411 onwards, we had not one but two mayors: the “buitenburgemeester” for security, military and political actions, and an “binnenburgemeester” for legal and city affairs.

1540 – plans for a gothic city hall

In the 16th century, the city council wanted a new town hall to represent the growing city. They chose Dominicus de Waghemakere as the architect for the new building. No plans have been saved. It would be built at a different location on the Grote Markt, on the side of the Handschoenmarkt and the cathedral. But in 1542 Maarten Van Rossum threatened the city and all the building materials and money was used for new city walls. They used the stones that had already been supplied for the reinforcements. There was nothing left for the new town hall.

1561-1565 – a renaissance city hall

20 years later, they dreamed about a new town hall. There was no longer a threat that stopped the plans. A whole team worked on the new town hall, such as sculptor Cornelis Floris de Vriendt and architect Hans Vredeman de Vries. Money was saved in various areas. They built on the western part of the Grote Markt, so they didn’t have to buy land. The owners of the current Gildekwamersstraat were less happy with their blocked view. There were shops on the ground floor that were rented out.

1876 – glass roof over the courtyard

Inside the town hall was an open courtyard. In the 19th century it was covered with a glass roof. It is now the stairwell.

2016 – …

After the festive year, the town hall will be closed and various renovations will take place. But that’s for another blog post …

City Hall Antwerp

 

Cornelis De Vriendt

Antwerp, Grote Markt

1561 – 1565 

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