Rubens' garden in Antwerp, winner of the European Heritage Award 2020


The European Commission and Europa Nostra have awarded their highest European distinction for heritage. The 21 winners for 2020 include the garden of the famous Antwerp painter.

In the time of Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), having a garden was seen as a symbol of social success. Furthermore, Rubens' gardener was his highest paid employee. And in his well-stocked library, the book devoted to gardening was undoubtedly the most valuable. In addition to tulips, which were very expensive at the time, potato plants, which had just arrived from America, were among the most prized plant species in 17th century ornamental art. The architectural setting of this verdant area of the Master's house, designed according to his personal instructions, was therefore perceived as one of the most elegant of its time, just like his paintings.


The site has required long-term restoration work as a result of time and due to pollution, water leaks and structural subsidence, not to mention inappropriate human intervention. It took two years to restore the famous garden of Rubens' house, which is visited by thousands of tourists every year, to its former glory.

The Rubens Garden is therefore one of 21 projects that have won the European Heritage Prize, awarded by the European Commission and Europa Nostra (Our Europe in Latin), which is the federation for the safeguarding of Europe's cultural and natural heritage.