Antwerp Heritage Volunteer Group


Home Projects Contact Us Links


Other Volunteer Activities

Van Kuyck
Plans & Maps
Shrine of 36 Saints
Devotional Prints
Pictures on Glass
Old Postcards
Glass Negatives
The Amalfi Ship
"Poesje" Puppets
The Pharmacy

Iconographic Collection

October 2009 - October 2010

The volunteers started working on a new project at the City Archives (now called the Felixarchives) in October 2009. It concerned an iconographic collection of documents about Antwerp in general. The project was done under the guidance Joost Depuydt (collection manager at the city archives).

We had to check the old inventory numbers, give new numbers, measure the documents, check their condition and pack the documents in different sized (from A4 to A0), acid free paper. To check the condition of the documents, we received examples and looked at pictures in a specialized book, which stayed with us at our assigned large working table.

Sorting the documents by size

Above: 6 volunteers working at the long table.

Right: Checking the documents

Below (left and right): Measuring the documents

Above: Checking the old inventory. Above: Recording the measurements of the documents and assigning new numbers.
The first documents were architectural plans of the quay walls along the Schelde, the iron covers on the quays, the quays of the ‘Bonaparte’ and ‘Willem’ docks, the surrounding buildings, the cranes, the lock and the plans of the first enlargement of the dockland to the north and the connection to the Albert Canal. In December, we started with an iconographic collection of old Antwerp cloister buildings. In 2010 we came upon a collection of architectural plans of the Central Station, first called ‘Ooststatie’ because it was build to the east of the city walls.
Later we came across a very large collection of the Antwerp Water System (some in very poor condition) including a large number of engineering plans and designs (pumps, pump stations, waterways etc).

Nicer to work with were the maps of Antwerp (some very old, some more resent, some extremely clear), the lay-outs and drafts for the different world exhibitions in Antwerp (1885, 1894 and 1930) and for the sport infrastructure of the 1920 Olympic Games.

The prints and maps of old buildings such as the Rubens House, the Rockox House, the Stock Exchange, etc. were all very interesting.

One volunteer input all the new inventory numbers and the condition of the documents into an Excel sheet. (41 ico numbers and 5547 new inventory numbers)

Above: A picture of the old Antwerp Stock Exchange.

Above: an 18th century map of Antwerp. Above: Detail from an old map of Antwerp.
We are glad to have found one of our new volunteers to be very knowledgeable in
paper types and paper restoration.


Right: Drawing of a corner house with writing in old Dutch.

Above: The entrance to Central Station in Antwerp.

Above: Drawing of the bridge of the river Rupel at Boom.

We worked on Thursday mornings from 9.30 to 12.30, with a coffee break in the cafeteria with the marvellous view over the ‘Willem’ dock, the MAS (at that time still under construction) and the ‘Kattendijk’ dock.


Left: Taking a break in the cafeteria.


Below: Wintry scenes from the cafeteria in
January 2010.

The project ended in October 2010 and the City archivist Mrs Inge Schoups assembled her full team for a reception at which she expressed her thanks to the volunteers and we all received a marvellous bouquet of flowers.