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© Victoriano Moreno

A unique collection of vessels

The MAS manages the largest collection of historical vessels in the country. For years, the collection was displayed under the shelters next to Het Steen. Work on the Scheldt quays meant that it had to be relocated. After a spectacular relocation operation, most of the vessels found a new home on-site at the Dry Docks site.

Tugboat 70 and floating steam crane 9 attract immediate attention. Both were maintained in the dry docks for years. Now they're back, but as museum pieces. The school tjalk De Gerlache lies in their shadow.

More than 50 ships and boats are well cared for in the workshops, each with their own unique story. From slender single wooden units, to riveted iron barges. From everyday work boats to a shiny runabout.

What are they worth?

In 2018, the MAS' vessel collection was assessed: What is its heritage value? We worked on an overview of the extensive and diverse collection for an entire year together with stakeholders and experts. This led to a report on the cultural-historical values of each piece in the collection.

This report is also the first catalogue of this special collection, which MAS took over from the National Maritime Museum. It is a stepping stone to a clear future vision for the collection.

MAS and its partners

You will find not only the MAS' vessel collection on the dry docks site.  Various foundations also restore their historic vessels here:

  • the oldest remaining Belgian Icelandic fishing vessel François Musin owned by GATAM;
  • the wooden minesweeper Oudenaarde;
  • the lightship West-Hinder of the Maritime Patrimony Foundation;
  • Sail Training Association Belgium moors there out of season with the Rupel and the Williwaw.

The Flanders Heritage Agency is working on the conservation of the Doelse Kogge, a special medieval ship uncovered in the Deurganck dock.

We are especially proud of the unique collaboration with the Maritime Museum Rotterdam, which is responsible for the last city grain elevator from Antwerp. From time to time, it is transported from Rotterdam to Antwerp.

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