Het Steen - National Maritime Museum, Antwerp
'Steen' is the Dutch word for 'stone'. In Antwerp the 'Steen' is the name of the little castle that can be seen at the entrance of the city center, on the border of the river Scheldt. The castle is called that way because it was one of the earliest buildings in Antwerp constructed with stones (at a time when most houses were still built with wood). The name 'Steen' can be found in other cities too. It always refers to a castle-like fortification (e.g.: the castle of the counts of Flanders in the city of Gent is also called 'Graven-steen', or (stone) Castle of the Counts).
The Antwerp Steen has been renovated numerous times. It was probably built as a part of the fortification around the city in the 13th century. In 1520, during the reign of Charles V, the castle was renovated by the architects Keldermans and De Waghemakere. The chapel which forms a loggia above the entrance dates from this period. It bears the motto of Charles V 'Plus Outre'. At the entrance a relief statue can be seen of a man with spread out legs. This statue also used to have a very large *** and was therefore venerated by numerous women looking for a cure against infertility. The Jesuits found the statue too obscene in the 17th century.... and off went the decoration of the statue !
The Steen was used as a prison from 1549 until 1823. As from 1862 it was used as the Archeological Museum. It was again renovated in 1889-1890 and a Neo-gothic wing was added to the building. Since 1952 The National Navigation Museum is housed here. Next to the castle are the large storage halls of the 19th century harbor. Here can be seen numerous vessels and boats which belong to the Maritime Museum.
Wednesday, August 3, 2005
Located on the banks of the River Scheldt, the NATIONAL SCHEEPVAARTMUSEUM or National Maritime Museum, is housed in the old fortification known as the Steen. Inside you will find ship models, maritime paintings, navigation instruments and a whole host of other objects and visual images from the maritimes.
There are impressive models of eighteenth-century ships that sailed to the East Indies, a 400-year old astrolab and glass-encased models of how Antwerp was in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, showing how ships were built then.
Besides the indoor Museum in the Steen, you can also walk around the Maritime Park, where real ships, boats and equipment are on display.
Entrance fee was 5 Euros for Adults.
Steen is the Dutch word for “stone” and is also the name of the little castle located at the entrance of the city center.
The castle was renovated several times and following the renovation in the period 1889-1890 a Neo-gothic wing was added to the building.
The Steen was used as a prison between 1549 and 1823 and from 1862 until 1952 it was used as the Archeological Museum.
Het Steen is a castle in the city center of Antwerp. It's located on the riverbank of The Schelde. Het Steen is Dutch for The Stone. It was built in the 13th century and connected to the old city walls. From the 16th to the 19th century the castle was used as a prison. Nowadays it houses the National Navigation Museum.
You will find this old caslte - part of the fortification around the city of Antwerp, and most probably built in the 13th century - along the river Schelde.
The Steen used to be a prison from 1549 until 1823. Thereafter it was an archeological museum. It houses the maritime museum since 1952.
The statue in front of the Steen is "Lange Wapper".
De Steen (Dutch for stone) is located near the river Scheldt. We were over by the river Scheldt after 5 pm so we didn't have a chance to go inside this medieval fortress from the 13th century that is Antwerp's oldest building. The Steen was used as a prison from 1549-1823, then as the Archeological Museum and since the 1950s as the National Maritime Museum.
I somehow missed the "Lange Wapper" statue (Albert Poels, 1963) which guards the entrance. The Lange Wapper is Antwerp's version of the boogie man who likes to be near water and can make himself as small as a child or as big as a giant and particularly likes to taunt children and drunks.
This castle was part of a much larger site
and the last remains from a vanished part of
That part of the city was broken down when
the river schelde was straightened.
In ancient times it was a jail now it houses
the collection of the national maritime museum. visits to this museum can
be made daily from 10 till 17h except on
Please go and seach for the little statue of
Semini above the archway. He is the
scandinavian God for youth and fertility.
Older people in Antwerp sometimes use
expressions that refer to this little God.
In Dutch steen means stone, this stone castle is used to the main entry point of Antwerp for those coming into the city via river Scheldt. It was built in thirteenth century and after that constantly it was renovated by different people in each century. For a very long time it was used as a prison.
The name 'het steen' means something like 'the stone' and probably dates from the time when it was the only stone building in an otherwise wooden town. Churches excluded probably. It's a castle and dates from the 13th century. Numerous renovations changed its looks since, making it look like a 19th-century romantic follie more than an authentic castle. Today it houses a maritime museum. It looks as if it always stood a little remote from the city, but in reality the whole neighbourhood at the harbour, with hundreds of medieval houses, was demolished about a century ago when the river was straightened. Het Steen is all that's left.
In the picture you can see a horse-drawn carriage. These can be rented for short tours of the city, but they're rather expensive.
Since 1952 the National Navigation Museum is housed by the Steen.
Next to the castle, on the right side of the entrance, is a large storage halls where can be seen numerous vessels and boats belonging to the Maritime Museum.
Next to Het Steen, the maritime museum, you can visit (without admittance) the open air museum.
There are plan of creating a whole new maritime museum up North, at 7 minutes walk from here and if that plan is getting real, then all of these ships might be moved to the new location.
But until then you can visit this place here, next to Het Steen.
There is also a schoolboat you can visit but those hours are limited, take contact with the museum for more information.
PANORAMIC PICTURE! pls click on it to enjoy the full view!
Het Steen is a medieval fortress in the old city centre of Antwerp and near the River Scheldt.Built after the Viking incursions in the early Middle Ages as the first stone fortress of Antwerp.Het Steen is the city's oldest building.The fortress gained its current name in around 1520,after significant rebuilding under 'Charles V'.The rebuilding led to its being known first as 's Heeren Steen'(the King's stone castle),and later simply as 'Hep Steen'(the stone castle).The fortress made it possible to control the access to the River Scheldt,it was used as a prison from 1303 to 1827.At the entrance to the castle stands a statue of a Giant and two Humans,it depicts the 'Large Wapper' who used to terrorise inhabitants of the city in medieval times.
visiting daily except monday:10.00-17.00
This museum is situated in the oldest building in Antwerp and was built from the 10th century. It is a maze of little stairways and rooms full of model ships and all things nautical. There is also an outside area full of real ships.
The museum is only about 4 euros to visit and it is free if you are over 65 years.
The present castle is what is left of the fortifications built on the original site of Antwerp. It was the residence of the margrave and was afterwards used as a prison until 1823. It now houses the extensive collection of ships' models, navigational instruments and maps & charts of the National Maritime Museum.