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Cassel, musée départemental de Flandre (Departmental Museum of Flanders)

A unique museum dedicated to Flemish art

Located in Cassel, at the summit of the highest of Flanders' "mounts", the department-funded Museum of Flanders has many assets in terms of its heritage, its environment and tourism. Since it was reopened in October 2010, its collections have been housed in one of the finest examples of Flemish architecture in the Nord-Pas de Calais.

Its main purpose is to promote artistic creation in Flanders, which gives it its uniqueness. The museum is divided into theme-based sections fostering interaction between ancient works and contemporary art while allowing visitors to discover all the richness and diversity of Flemish culture from the 15th century to the present day, reaching far beyond its borders. A permanent exhibition that is regularly updated together with a vibrant programme of temporary exhibitions and cultural events make this museum a living and dynamic place.

Prestigious acquisitions

The original collection of around 6000 items has been enriched thanks to an acquisitions policy directed towards contemporary art and 16th and 17th century art. The museum now contains works by Léo Copers, Manuel Ruiz Vida, Janusz Stega, Jan Fabre, Thierry de Cordier, Patrick van Caeckenbergh and Koen Vanmechelen while the ancient art collection boasts works by the so-called Master of Frankfurt, Guillaume Kerricx, Roelandt Savery, David Téniers, Joachim Patinir and Simon de Vos.

A Museum for Everyone

The Flanders Museum is committed to reaching as wide a public as possible. It has a highly diversified programme of cultural events: concerts, guided tours, tours with storyteller, artistic expression workshops. Young visitors are especially well catered for, with special facilities such as activity mats, dream machines and a programme of workshops during the school holidays.

The museum has the "Tourism and Handicap" quality label owing to its innovative policy to make the museum accessible to people with any sort of disability, in total autonomy: there is a lift to the various floors of the building; there are tactile models with texts in braille and in large type throughout the permanent exhibition. The visio-guide also offers a tour in sign language while the audio-guide provides audio descriptions for those who are visually impaired. Special tours for people with intellectual disabilities can also be organized.

Reaching across the borders

The departmental Museum of Flanders clocked up 84 000 visitors in 2011, making it the 66th most-visited national site in its first year of existence.

In 2013, it will be presenting an unprecedented exhibition that will bring together around 100 masterpieces for the first time. Splendours of Mannerism in Flanders, 1500-1575 will take a daring look at mannerism in Flemish painting and present the many facets of this style over a wide period of time, starting in the 16th century with Pieter Coecke d’Alost (1502-1550) up to the last third of that century with Pieter Aertsen (1508-1577). It will be open to the public from 4 May to 29 September.

Flanders and the SeaFrom Pieter the Elder to Jan “Velvet ”Brueghel the Elder

4 April to 12 July 2015

Pieter Bruegel l’Ancien (1528-1569) Bataille navale dans le golfe de Naples Huile sur bois Rome, Galleria Doria Pamphilj © Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Rome, Italy Giraudon/Bridgeman Images

Immerse yourself in the fascinating world of the 16th and 17th centuries’ Flemish and Dutch seascapes. Get on one of the famous carracks painted by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, face raging waters and sea battles, and finally succumb to the poetry of the views of ports and wide horizons …

The musée départemental de Flandre in Cassel, will present an exhibition devoted to representations of the sea in 16th and 17th centuries’ Flemish art. Although seascapes are regarded as a speciality of Dutch painting, the exhibition serves as a reminder that Flemish artists are their real inventors.

It is to Pieter Bruegel the Elder that we owe the first open seascapes. His masterpiece Naval Battle in the Gulf of Naples, conserved at the Pamphilj Gallery in Rome, will be on exhibition for the first time outside Italy!

The exhibition will be made up of eighty paintings, drawings and engravings along with three models of ships, from several European and American museums.

It will take up both of the museum’s floors and will be organised into five sections.