Hidden Belgium: A bookcase toilet in Antwerp

Hidden Belgium: A bookcase toilet in Antwerp

The curious eighteenth-century Hofkamer lies hidden in the garden of a grand 18th-century Antwerp mansion called Den Wolsack. Abandoned for many years, the remarkable Hofkamer interior was finally restored and revealed to the public in 2017.

There are several reasons to visit this place. First, for the impressive ballroom on the ground floor overlooking the garden, with a huge painted ceiling illustrating ‘The Gods on Mount Olympus’. It is the largest ceiling painting on canvas in Europe, possibly in the world.

But the most interesting detail lies on the first floor. A spiral staircase leads up to a room decorated with contemporary art by Koen van den Broek. Tucked away in a corner is a quirky bookcase toilet lined with fake volumes made from leather and wood. And the toilet seat rests on a pile of books.

It is open for two hours on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons. You can book a visit on the Experience Antwerp website.

Derek Blyth’s hidden secret of the day: Derek Blyth is the author of the bestselling “The 500 Hidden Secrets of Belgium”. He picks out one of his favourite hidden secrets for The Brussels Times every day.

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