Museum Hof van Busleyden, a jewel in Mechelen's crown


In the early 16th century, a beautiful city palace was erected in an early Renaissance style for the scholar, politician, diplomat, humanist and patron Hieronymus van Busleyden. To many guides, the rebuilt and renovated Museum Hof van Busleyden is a must-see for Mechelen, and even Flanders itself.

Today, just as in the Renaissance, the residence of the great citizen of Mechelen remains a place for people to meet each other and exchange ideas, and where art treasures are collected.


One of the absolute top items is the Mechelen Choir book, as it is known, which belonged to Margaret of Austria, the governess of the Habsburg Netherlands and the aunt of Emperor Charles. It is one of the most beautiful and best-preserved music manuscripts (1508-1509), created by the scribe, musician, composer and businessman Petrus Alamire in his Mechelen studio. The figure in the opening miniature is probably a young Charles V, with his brother and sisters beside him.


The Enclosed Gardens in particular are not to be missed – these are lovely retables with religious imagery, constructed by the Hospice of the Augustine Sisters from Mechelen in the early 16th century. They cared for the sick and the elderly, and took in pilgrims. They indulged their spirituality in these late-Medieval puppet theatres, as it were, sometimes with 500 artistic, unique and extremely fragile artefacts.