Skip to main content

Antwerp à la carte

About cities and food

The history of the city, on the surprising, erratic and often invisible trail of food.

Hungry mouths

Today, over half of the world’s population lives in cities. Antwerp, for instance, has more than 500,000 inhabitants. That’s half a million mouths to be fed every day. How do we manage to do this now, what will we do in the future, and does the past offer any inspiration?

Who eats what?

The Antwerp à la carte exhibition reveals the intimate relationship between the city and food, from the sixteenth century to the distant future. How do cities get their food? Which parts of the world do crops come from and how do they reach the city? What foods do people eat and where do they buy them? Does a modern kitchen bear any resemblance to one from the seventeenth century? And what do we do about all our food waste?

Food shapes the city

Follow the trail of food in the city and find out how what we eat has left its mark on the map of Antwerp. Stroll through markets and supermarkets, take a look in inns, cafes and restaurants, be surprised by smell and art installations. Try some finger-licking sixteenth-century recipes with a modern twist. Peek inside old kitchens full of strange utensils. Find out why Antwerp has so many local delicacies made of ingredients from around the world. And discover from the masterpieces of Antwerp’s greatest painters, contemporary art installations and photography how food has defined the streetscape for centuries.

Visitor Guide


Be inspired by the exhibition. Share your foodphotos on Instagram with #instamasfood and claim your spot in the exhibition. 

Out and about with Danny the Dockworker

Discover the stories behind the sugar, coffee and bananas in the Port of Antwerp. Meet Danny the Dockworker during an interactive and accessible multimedia port tour. You take a look behind the scenes of the Port of Antwerp. Book the tour via Antwerp Port Tours.

Guided tours

Antwerp à la carte

A guide will show you the surprising, tortuous and often invisible trail of the food chain through Antwerp.

Book a guide via Experience Antwerp

About the exhibition

winkelkar bedolven onder een berg witte korrels

Antwerp à la carte

Take a virtual look in the museum hall.

Recipes from the 16e century

Viki Geunes, chef of the famous restaurant Zilte, selected four recipes from around 1600 from the Cockbouck and came up with a contemporary version. You'll find them in the exhibition, but also here online.

See also

Food, people and the city

Comparative perspectives

This conference, strongly linked to the theme of the MAS exhibition 'Antwerp à la carte', aimed to increase our awareness of food systems as dynamic cultural phenomena. The conference took place between 21-23 September 2022.

Antwerp Hand biscuits, Brabo and the Holocaust

The shape of the famous Antwerp Hand biscuit refers to the medieval legend of Brabo. However, behind the scenes of the little biscuit there is lurking more than one history.

Subscribe to our newsletter