Take a look in the dining room and get to know historical characters and their eating habits.
Until the early seventeenth century, Antwerp was a leading production and distribution centre for luxury items.
In this video, Anthonis tells us how he liked to dine and thereby demonstrate his wealth in 1610:
From the second half of the seventeenth century, however, the city’s economy experienced a swift decline. Around 1700, shifting tastes and changing fashion trends strongly influenced the economic crisis Antwerp was experiencing. Consumers gradually turned their attention to upcoming French fashion.
This is how Catharina, the wife of a beer brewer, dined in 1670:
French art and culture were very prominent in the eighteenth century, strongly influencing style developments in the Southern Netherlands. Brussels, the de facto capital city and home to the court, became the region’s leading fashion center. As eating culture in the eighteenth century grew more refined, various items of tableware found their way to dining tables: oil and vinegar stands, mustard pots, salt & pepper shakers, sugar shakers, sauce boats and terrines. A sumptuous table, elegantly set with a large assortment of functional silver objects, was the ideal way to distinguish oneself, and a complete silver tableware set was a coveted status symbol. However, such sets were so expensive that few people were able to buy them in one go.
Here, Maria Lucretia describes how she had her table set in 1780:
After the French revolution, the court was no longer the centre of power and luxury display.
This is how Antoon and his guests ate in 1865:
In Belgium, too, the power of the nobility waned, and new elite emerged, composed mainly of industrialists and bankers. Belgium was at the forefront of industrialisation, which increased the gap between the rich and the poor. While the working class lived mainly on potatoes and rye bread, the elite ate increasingly varied food, as culinary innovation spread from France.
Curious to know the course of a festive meal in 1898? Mrs. Lesiere tells you in the video below: