Antwerp, a city under the influence of its port

05/01/2022

The MAS, Museum Aan de Stroom, the Antwerp museum with vertical architecture and 60-metre high glass walls, has opened a new permanent exhibition, "Freight. About the port, people and cargo".

The exhibition looks back at the sailors, cargoes and encounters generated by port activities from the time of the Vikings to the present day. Magnificent models of ships, works of art and utilitarian objects reveal the evolution of trade and the city over the centuries, as well as its contemporary reality. Some events are more significant than others and are the milestones of this evolution, such as 24 August 1501, when the first Portuguese ship docked in Antwerp harbour, loaded with pepper and cinnamon from India. Antwerp port would soon become the centre for the distribution of spices throughout Northern Europe. In the 16th century, Antwerp was the world's leading stock exchange, a symbol of booming international trade.

 

In the 19th century, Antwerp overtook Hamburg as the port of departure for emigrants to America, with the famous Red Star transatlantic line. Two million Europeans passed through Antwerp on their way to the New World.

This is a black-and-white history, as the exhibition presents both the golden periods and the dark sides of economic growth.

 

For further information and bookings, please consult: Freight | MAS Museum