Architect Paul Robbrecht explains that his new building (model below) will introduce visitors to the universe of Rubens. Around 200,000 people a year usually visit the Rubens House itself. “We are the victims of our success” explains project head Bert Watteeuw. “Parts of the house have been damaged due to the number of visitors. We’ve examined how we can improve the way we manage visitor flows and protect the collection at the same time”.
Tours will continue to start from the front of the Rubens House itself allowing visitors to admire the façade. After that they will be shown the garden, Rubens’s grand studio and the rest of the house.
Work on the new centre starts in 2022. Burgomaster of Antwerp Bart De Wever (Flemish nationalist): “We intend to tackle the entire site in coming years. The garden will be turned into a genuine baroque garden. The Rubens House will become a kind of campus that you will be able to visit as international tourism resumes. We cannot emphasise how important the Rubens House is for Antwerp. Rubens is the patriarch of Antwerp. Ask a hundred Antwerpians, who was the greatest person of all time, ninety will answer Sir Peter Paul Rubens!”