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  • Discover the works and worlds of the Flemish masters across Belgium with visits to important collections in Ghent, Bruges, Antwerp and Brussels

  • Visit the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp, recently reopened following a decade-long renovation, to see its magnificent holdings of painting, sculpture and drawing spanning seven centuries

  • Enjoy a day spent in Bruges, exploring the fascinating Groeningemuseum and 12th century St John’s Hospital, home to the Memling Museum

“Marie-Anne always manages to share her profound knowledge of art history in an accessible and entertaining way”

– ACE customer on a previous tour led by Marie-Anne Mancio

Few countries have made such a profound contribution to European art as the land we know today as Belgium. With the development of oil painting in the 15th century onwards, Belgium played an essential role in the evolution of western painting.


The ‘golden age’ of Flemish art began with the brothers Hubert and Jan van Eyck, before being continued by Hans Memling in Bruges, Rogier van der Weyden in Brussels and Hugo van der Goes in Ghent. Flemish Mannerist architects spread Renaissance ideas throughout northern Europe, and in Van Dyck and Rubens we have two of the most formidable of all Baroque artists.


This tour will explore Flemish art history from bases in Ghent and Antwerp. In Ghent, the extensive collections of the Museum of Fine Arts focus on Flemish art, and the Cathedral of St Bavo contains the restored panels of van Eyck’s Adoration of the Mystic Lamb altarpiece, providing a wonderful introduction to the country’s artistic heritage.


From here, we will enjoy a whole day excursion to Bruges, where the Groeningemuseum is host to an enviable collection of van Eyck and van der Weyden, and is also the setting for Hieronymus Bosch’s Last Judgement. We also look forward to visiting the Memling Museum, housed in one of Europe’s oldest medieval hospitals, and paying homage to Michelangelo’s marble Madonna and Child in the Gothic Church of Our Lady.


Our tour continues in Antwerp, the great commercial port on the Scheldt, with an exploration of the Old Town and visits to some fascinating museums. The Snijders & Rockox Huis, two neighbouring 17th century townhouses, were formerly owned by the artist Frans Snyders and art patron Nicolaas Rockox. They are now dedicated to collections of 16th and 17th century Flemish masterpieces.


A further highlight will be the Plantin-Moretus Museum, located in the former residence and printing establishment owned by the 16th century printers Christophe Plantin and Jan Moretus. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it houses two of the oldest printing presses to survive, providing a unique insight into this monumental episode of history.


Whilst in Antwerp, we will also enjoy a visit to the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, which has recently undergone a major renovation project. The collections feature works by van Eyck, Brueghel the Elder, Van Dyck, Hals, Rodin and Magritte amongst others. The Mayer van den Bergh Museum, meanwhile, is home to a collection of northern Renaissance art assembled during the 19th century.

Our tour concludes with a visit to the Musée d’Art Ancien in Brussels, containing Flemish and Belgian paintings dating from the 15th to the 18th century.


The first three nights of the tour will be spent in the centre of Ghent at the four-star NH Gent Belfort, an NH Collection property located opposite the town hall. We will then continue to Antwerp for two nights at the four-star Hilton Antwerp Old Town, in the heart of the historical city centre, overlooking Groenplaats Square and the Cathedral of Our Lady.


This tour will be led by Marie-Anne Mancio, MPhil, DPhil, an art historian, writer and experienced tour leader and lecturer, accredited with the Arts Society. Marie-Anne originally trained as an artist before gaining her DPhil at the University of Sussex in art and critical theory. She has written and presented courses for Tate and Dulwich Picture Gallery, and writes reviews, catalogue essays and historical fiction. She is a frequent traveller and looks forward to introducing an ACE group to the art treasures of Flanders.

Tour Code

Included: return travel, accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, five breakfasts, one light lunch, four dinners with water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities & all taxes.

Not Included: travel insurance, double room for single use supplement £335.

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