Steen Castle

Het Steen was home to the Maritime Museum for many years. Now that its collection has been moved to the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS), HETPALEIS and the city of Antwerp have reopened this legendary building as a ‘question centre’ for visitors (and anyone looking for answers), young or old, aged six years or over.

Het Steen is Antwerp’s oldest building. It lies on the Scheldt near the former peninsula known as ‘De Werf’ (the Yard). The first settlement appeared on De Werf, with earth ramparts, in the 9th century. A fortress was created in this way. In the late 12th or early 13th century, stone fortifications were built here, as well as Het Steen, one of the fortress’s three gatehouses. Het Steen was extensively rebuilt under Charles V, in the early 16th century. The difference of colour can still be seen on the façade.
Until 1823 Het Steen was used as a prison. After briefly serving as a residence, a sawmill and a fish warehouse, it was used as a museum from 1862: initially as a Museum of Antiquities, and then as the National Maritime Museum from 1952 to 2008. You can now admire the collection of the latter museum at MAS | Museum aan de Stroom.

Children aged 6 to 12 years are the guests of honour in HETSTEEN these days. They can attend workshops there with their school class or in their free time, with or without their parents. The theme for the period 2014-2016 is 'TIME'. During these workshops, children get to grips with philosophy, science and art. Through these disciplines, they consider various aspects of time: measuring time, holding onto time, fast versus slow, old versus young, and so on.
Old and young are welcome in HETSTEEN’s child-friendly meeting space: you can drink a hot chocolate there as you admire the view of the Scheldt, or enjoy a home-made sandwich and read the newspaper.

During the summer, HETSTEEN sets up its outdoor summer bar. Everyone is welcome: children can have fun in a great, safe playground by the edge of the Scheldt. There is a large sandpit and water play facilities. Adults can laze in the shade of the tree or soak up the sun in beach chairs. Cool drinks and ice creams complete the picture.

Sepp van Dun


Steenplein 1

Book now

Opening Days

Special opening days

Special closing days

Individual visitors

Price per person:

Reduction rates

Card holders

City Card: true.





Others also viewed

Antwerp ZOO - copyright JONAS VERHULST

Antwerp ZOO

The Antwerp ZOO is one of the oldest and best-known zoos in Europe. It will take you and your parents at least half a day to see and do it all! The penguins live in Vriesland with their own arctic enclosure, elephants and giraffes are as tall as the Egyptian temple they stay in and hippopotamuses goof around in a pink villa. 950 different species and 5000 animals live at the zoo, that’s more than all the sweets you’ll ever eat all in one place!

De Ruien (Antwerp Canals) - copyright Jan Crab

De Ruien (Antwerp Canals)

Visit The Ruien, a truly unique attraction, and walk through Antwerp's former canals and sewers. During this adventurous and astonishing underground walk you'll discover some of Antwerp's exciting and rich history. 

EcoHouse - copyright Jan Crab


Visitors with green fingers learn how best to create their own ecological city garden and which animals and plants thrive in the city. Visit the Ecocafé for delicious treats and healthy snacks and juices as well as organic veggie meals.

Café Hopper - copyright Jan Crab

Café Hopper

Enjoy some jazz, read a newspaper or watch hip people walk by. For years Den Hopper has been the top café for trendy players and cool cats. Sunday afternoons and Monday evenings you can enjoy laid-back live music. 

[object Object]