Architecturally important outlier in the heart of Port of Antwerp


The protected lock master's residence, built in 1908 in Flemish neo-Renaissance style, restored to its former glory

At the point where the Scheldt suddenly makes its familiar 90° turn to the west at Het Eilandje, to the north of Antwerp city centre, the Royers Lock branches off on the right bank. It is a sea lock between the river, the America Dock, the Albert Dock and the Albert Canal. Works to renovate the structure started in 2021, and these are expected to be completed in late 2026 or early 2027. The lock will be lengthened from 180 to 235 metres and widened from 22 to 36 metres, to allow more traffic into the Albert Canal. It's already an impressive sight in itself. 

But what is really spectacular is the architectural gem in Flemish neo-Renaissance style rising from the gaping construction pit. The city of Antwerp had this lock master's house built on the Droogdokkenweg in 1908, and it was nicknamed 't Kasteeltje (little castle). The lock master lived here with his family, conveniently close-by whenever a ship arrived. Keeping the protected residence safe from damage in the middle of a construction site is obviously a delicate task. Various sensors, including vibration, crack and deformation meters at the rear garden wall will keep a constant eye on everything. 't Kasteeltje will get a new foundation in any case, while facades, exterior joinery and the interior will also be comprehensively restored.  

The lock master will soon be able to move into the stately restored building, which will be the new command centre for the Royers Lock. And with that, the building will have come full circle.