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125 years Compagnie Maritime Belge

This year, the boulevard is all about the maritime character of our port city. Travel in time along the escalators and get to know the fascinating history of the Antwerp shipping companies. The work of German photographer Dirk Brömmel can be seen on the walls of the boulevard. He photographs all kinds of ships with their cargo from above, and builds impressive photos from 1,000 smaller photos. The ships thus become objects that you as a viewer want to discover further.

This exhibition in the boulevard will immerse you in a piece of history of the bustling Antwerp harbour. It originated in the early 19th century. Under Napoleon Bonaparte’s rule, docks were dug and a large shipyard was built. The recently restored free shipping on the Scheldt was an attraction for domestic and foreign entrepreneurs to develop shipping companies in Antwerp. Intercontinental maritime traffic connected the Scheldt city with the world.

During the second half of the 19th century, a number of large shipping companies were established in Antwerp, such as Armement Deppe, the Red Star Line and the Compagnie Belge Maritime du Congo (CBMC). Armement Deppe focused on transatlantic shipping, among other things. The Red Star Line transported over two million European migrants to America between 1873 and 1934, and also operated cruises. The CBMC was established at the request of King Leopold II in 1895 to ensure a permanent connection with Congo. The Congo boats were a household name in Antwerp for sixty years.

In 1930, the CBMC absorbed the Belgian shipping company Lloyd Royale Belge. The name of the merged company was Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB). It opened lines to America and the Far East. Finally, Armement Deppe was taken over in 1960.

The world-renowned shipping company that started as CBMC, and was later renamed CMB, celebrates its 125th birthday this year. Reason enough in the MAS to once again emphasise the connection between our lively city and the ships that connect us to the world with impressive photos by Dirk Brömmel.


  • The photos are exhibited on the walls in the boulevard. On display until 16.08.2021.

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