Encounter & Contrast - Comtemporary art meets the beguinage collection

Art movements are universal. Contemporary artists often work around the same themes as their colleagues centuries ago. 'Encounter & Contrast' deals with this and sets religious art from the Beguinage Museum against modern works from different art movements. The result is striking, sometimes contrary, always confrontational.

Combining old and new in museums happens more often, but for the Beguinage Museum such a direct matching is extra special. Bear in mind, that the objects in this museum have been in daily use or have been of religious importance for the beguines. For a museum public, however, the artistic aspect is also important. The 'encounter' between artists from different periods and styles makes it even more interesting for visitors.

Some works are by Josef Jan Michnia. This Polish-German artist made 33 colorful oil paintings with important events from the life of Jesus. Eight are shown as counterparts of the traditional museum collection. The local priest and artist Remi Lens (†) is also given a place in the exhibition with his poignant crucifixion series.

J.J. Michnia

Other modern artists that are exhibited are Jacques Frenken (popart), Hugo Kaagman (graffiti), Ria van Oosten (sculptor) and Peter Hofland (popart). Their penetrating works, newly designed sculptures or revamped saints' images tell stories about people and faith or give us cause to revisit the church's visual tradition.

In 2018 the beguinage will celebrate 20 years of Unesco World Heritage. The exhibition is part of the celebrations.

Activities calendar

  • 27 May: Festive inauguration of the renovated beguinage
  • 1 July - 31 August: Free access every Wednesday
  • 9 September: Heritage Day and Curio market by the Residents Association Begijnhof
  • 16 September: Opening of the Cultural Season in the Warandeplein with a re-enactment of the daily life of the beguines in the garden
  • 13 December: Concert with Beguine Songs by Psallentes - Beguinage Church
  • 24 December: Festive performance of 'Candles in the Beguinage'

Beguinage Museum, Begijnhof 56, B-2300 Turnhout
www.begijnhofmuseum.be - begijnhofmuseum@turnhout.be

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Opening hours

  • Tuesday to Saturday: 14.00-17.00
  • Sunday: 11.00-17.00
  • Closed, every Monday, 1-2 January & 25-26 December


  • Ticket: 5 euro - concession rate: 3 euro - under 18 years: free
  • Combined ticket with the Taxandria- and Playing Cards Museum: 7.50 euros
  • Guided tour: 50 euros + 5 euro administration cost
  • Groups & tours: book via gidsen@turnhout.be - +32 14 44 33 55

Parking tips (paid)

  • Centrumparking de Warande, Wezenstraat 10, Turnhout
  • Parking Hannuit, corner Hannuitstraat - Begijnendreef, Turnhout

How to reach the museum?

Turnhout is easily accessible from Antwerp (42 km), Tilburg (35 km), Breda (39 km), Eindhoven (49 km), Brussels (95 km), Ghent (105 km) and Hasselt (65 km). The city lies next to the motorway (E34), exit 24 (Turnhout Centrum).

The Beguinage Museum is a 10-minute walk from the Grote Markt. From the Grote Markt go to the Zegeplein. Continue to the Begijnenstraat. After 300 meters you will find the entrance gate to the Beguinage on your left. You will find the Beguinage Museum on the right after 200 meters, next to the sheep meadow.