CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Sunday 12 March (optional)

On Sunday 12 March we have scheduled two optional excursions in the afternoon. The first will take you to ‘Het Steen’ in Elewijt. Because of the high demand for this visit, we offer a limited number of participants the opportunity to take a guided tour of the Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library and their Nottebohmzaal in the city center of Antwerp. See more information below.

Het Steen

Rubens bought Het Steen, an estate located in the industrial heart of the Brabant region, in 1635. Until his death in 1640, it was his primary residence and the place where he and his second wife, Hélène Fourmet, raised their children. Ownership of Het Steen was an important part of the painter’s identity in his later years, as evidenced by the inscription “Lord of het Steen” on his tombstone. The landscape surrounding the castle was an important source of inspiration for his paintings. From the tower of Het Steen and a nearby sluice tower, he had a sublime view of his estate that can be seen in his A View of Het Steen in the Early Morning and The Rainbow Landscape.

Both castle and estate have changed significantly since the seventeenth century, however for those familiar with Rubens’s landscapes, the area is still recognizable. During this excursion, guided by Bert Watteeuw and Klara Alen, we will visit the castle and its grounds. A short walk of approximately ten to fifteen minutes will take you to the ruins of the aforementioned sluice tower.

Practical information

Het Steen is difficult to reach by public transport. Therefore we have arranged a coach that will depart from Antwerp Central Station and that will bring you directly to the castle grounds. After the excursion, the coach will take you back to a location in central Antwerp from where you can easily reach the Antwerp City Hall, where the opening reception takes place.

Please note that Het Steen is currently not open for public and therefore not all facilities are present yet. This means that there will be few sanitary facilities available and that there is no central heating. We advise participants to dress accordingly. Because of the high demand for this excursion, we kindly ask you to inform us if you are no longer able to join the excursion by sending an email to


Participants gather at Antwerp Central Station and board coach
13:00-13:45 Travel from Antwerp Central Station to Het Steen in Elewijt
13:45-14:15 Arrival with coffee and tea and a short introduction by Bert Watteeuw, Director Rubenshuis & Rubenianum
Visit to Het Steen and the surrounding grounds in two groups accompanied by Bert Watteeuw and Klara Alen, Independent Art Historian and Archival Researcher
Travel from Het Steen to Antwerp
Registration and opening reception and the Antwerp City Hall, hosted by the City of Antwerp

Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library

In 1481, Antwerp town solicitor Willem Pauwels donated 41 books to the City of Antwerp, which led to the founding of the first city library. The printer Christopher Plantin and his successors ensured the expansion of the collection by donating a copy of every book the Plantin publishing house printed. Until the end of the nineteenth century, the Library was located in the City Hall, but this proved too small to accommodate the growing number of books. In 1883 the library moved to its current location.  The most historic part of the building, the Notthebohm Room, holds the oldest 150.000 items of the library’s catalogue.

The guided tour takes participants to both the library and the Notthebohm Room and is scheduled between 14:30 and 16:00. More information will be made available shortly. If you would like to register for this excursion, or switch from the optional visit to Het Steen to this excursion, please send an email to