Museum Hof van Busleyden

Jan van Roome (1498-1521)

Hof van Busleyden

Frederik de Merodestraat 65, Mechelen

Want to have a good chat next to a majestic mural, like Thomas More and Desiderius Erasmus? Look no further, because in the deepest corners of the Hof van Busleyden lurk some extremely rare 16th-century Renaissance murals.

Stadspaleis en tuinen (c) Sophie Nuytten - Museum Hof van Busleyden

Museum Hof van Busleyden

Hiëronymus van Busleyden decided on a thorough renovation of his city palace in Mechelen in 1506 to bring it up to scratch with typical Burgundian style. He had a brand new wing built, complete with a gallery and a tower with vaulted staircases. He also bought up the land around his palace and turned it into an ornamental garden. And he kept on beautifying his residence until he died in 1517. Something later owners Charles d’Arenberg and Anna de Croÿ continued in 1589. They made the tower with staircase higher and added a spire to it, a real status symbol in Burgundian architecture. In 1619, architect Wenceslas Cobergher bought the Hof van Busleyden. He set up a Mount of Piety, a kind of public lender where the poor could obtain loans without being ripped off by sky-high interest rates. To establish it, he had a new wing built on the north side of the inner courtyard. The palace was destroyed almost completely by fire in 1914 but Hof van Busleyden opened its doors as a municipal museum in 1938.

Murals - Jan van Roome

Hiëronymus van Busleyden and his guests dined in the hypocaust, a small space in the 16th-century city palace. The murals provided the intellectual elite he received here with some topics to talk about. Indeed, great humanist thinkers like Thomas More and Erasmus waxed lyrical about them. Well-preserved murals like these are a rare find. Though they were partially destroyed in the fire of 1914, fortunately some parts at least came out of it unscathed. The Feast of Tantalus and the Fall of Phaeton, a biblical and mythological scene painted in Flemish Renaissance style around 1508 probably by Jan van Roome, survive. He pained them in egg tempera, a technique with which dry pigment is mixed with egg yoke and water.

Muurschilderingen in Museum Hof van Busleyden, Jan van Roome

Practical information


Frederik de Merodestraat 65
2800 Mechelen
View directions

Opening hours

  • Open Wednesday to Sunday from 10.00 to 17.00 hrs.


  • Easy access for people with disabilities.

Good to know

  • Admission: € 14.00 standard rate


Other sites nearby

De aanbidding der wijzen, Pieter Paul Rubens
Not only can visitors admire Peter Paul Rubens’s Adoration of the Magi, its tower also hides some unique 14th-century murals.
Preekstoel van Pieter Valck (detail)
Fancy a bit of wood-carving magnificence? The wonderful pulpit by Pieter Valckx in the Sint-Katelijnekerk in Mechelen towers high above you.