What was originally a 'vorstelycke' 18th-century patrician residence on the Antwerp Meir soon became a palace for kings and emperors. Napoleon used it as a city palace; William I made it his official residence until it came into the hands of the Belgian royal family.
It was Leopold II in particular who left his mark on the building through the various adaptations he had made. In 1969 King Baudouin transferred the palace to the Ministry of Dutch Culture and the royal family left the palace on the Meir. It was handed over to Erfgoed Vlaanderen, now Herita, and from 2001 to 2010 a thorough restoration followed with museum redesign and furnishing of the interior on the first floor.
Today, too, the spacious Hall of Mirrors and the magnificent salons are visited by many highly honored guests and the Palais op de Meir offers a unique experience to heritage visitors.
1 palace, various fillings
The ground floors and the original coach house were given catering and trading functions. Café Impérial on the left and The Chocolate Line by Dominique Persoone on the right are located in the salons. Interior design shop Flamant moved into the former coach house. The first floor is rented to De Kamers.
When visitors walk into the chocolatier, enjoy a snack or drink at Café Impérial or cross the courtyard garden to reach the coach house, they will find information about the heritage value of the palace. Thanks to information panels in various languages, visitors become subtly aware of the heritage around them.
Private user 'The Rooms' opens up the first floor for events in a limited circle. The not-for-profit organization 'De Kamers' also raises visitors' awareness of heritage values. On their website, for example, they pay a lot of attention to the historical character of the palace.
Conservation and management
The long-term maintenance plans of Monumentenwacht are followed. Work on the outer shell will start in 2020.