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The butcher's house in Antwerp

The first meat house was built in 1250 near the fortress of Antwerp, Het Steen. The building was used by the butchers guilds to group their busyness into one location, specifically to process and sell meat.

Picture by Harry Fabel

Around 1500, at the beginning of the Golden Age of Antwerp, the building was getting too small so the guild of butchers decided to build a new butcher house, nearby at the Veemarkt (Cattle Market). The new building was to provide space for up to 62 butchers. 'Herman de Waghemakere' designed the building and between 1501 and 1504 it was built. It became a late-Gothic building constructed of red brick and white sandstone.

In the impressive cool basement, meat could be stored and sold in the shops on the ground floor. At the rear of that ground floor, a chapel was built. On the first floor, there were meeting rooms and a kitchen. Possible there were also some smaller butchers shops on that floor. The second to the fifth floors, situated under the roof, served as storage rooms. 

Now the building isn't a butcher's house anymore, it's a museum for music and musical instruments, but it still has the same name as where it was originally used for. You can find the museum at this address: Vleeshouwersstraat 38, Antwerp.

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