Hof van Busleyden Scenography

Client: Stad Mechelen
Location: Mechelen
Realization: 1999 – …
Design team: dmvA i.s.m. hlc.® architecten: David Driesen, Tom Verschueren, Hans Le Compte, Valerie Lonnoy, Jolien De Baets, Gert-Jan Schulte, Lukas Versteele, Ruben Van den hove
Structural engineer: Studiebureel BAS bvba
Engineer Techniques: Studiebureau IRS- Deprez bvba
Photography: Sergio Pirrone
Surface: Phase 1: 1450 m² (extension), Phase 2: 3000 m²


The city museum Hof van Busleyden in Mechelen is situated in a city palace in early renaissance style, that is built in the beginning of the 16th century by order of Hiëronymus van Busleyden. This scholar was a prominent figure in Mechelen, the capital of the Low Countries back then. He was a friend of Erasmus and Thomas More, who wrote Utopia in 1516. It is within this historical context that the scenography and the layout of the museum took shape in collaboration with scenographer Christophe Gaeta.

Building a museum in an old city palace means dealing thoroughly with the different room structures, accessibility, fire safety, circulation… The rooms each got their own story with their individual architecture, based on research of the existing situation. The interior design always serves the exhibited objects. Wherever possible, interaction with the visitor is stimulated, based on virtual reality. The rooms that tell about the present alternate with rooms showcasing historical collections. Participative projects also take place in the museum. The museum tour ends with the superior heritage ‘de hofkes’, set up in the attic room. For this artwork, very specific showcases were designed that eliminate all vibrations and external factors in order to preserve ‘de hofkes’ optimally.

The whole museum revolves around experience and participation. It’s a museum where you can always discover new things. It explores our history with historical artwork and reflects on the present. Both the Malinois and visitors from further away are approached. This results in a museum of the future built on the past!