The Haus der Kunst is a non-collecting art museum constructed from 1933 to 1937 following plans of architect Paul Ludwig Troost as the Third Reich's first monumental structure of Nazi architecture and as Nazi propaganda. The museum was opened in 1937 as a showcase for what the Third Reich regarded as Germany's finest art. The inaugural exhibition was the Große Deutsche Kunstausstellung ('Great German art exhibition'), which was intended as an edifying contrast to the condemned modern art on display in the concurrent Degenerate art exhibition.
On 15 and 16 October 1939, the Große Deutsche Kunstausstellung inside the Haus der Deutschen Kunst was complemented by the monumental Tag der Deutschen Kunst celebration of '2,000 years of Germanic culture' where luxuriously draped floats (one of them carrying a 5 meter tall golden Nazi Reichsadler) and thousands of actors in historical costumes paraded down Prinzregentenstraße for hours in the presence of Adolf Hitler, Hermann Göring, Joseph Goebbels, Heinrich Himmler, Albert Speer, Robert Ley, Reinhard Heydrich, and many other high-ranking Nazis.
After the end of World War II, the museum building was first used by the American occupation forces as an officer's mess; in that time, the building came to be known as the 'P1', a shortening of its street address. The building's original purpose can still be seen in such guises as the swastika-motif mosaics in the ceiling panels of its front portico.
Beginning in 1946, the museum rooms, now partitioned into several smaller exhibition areas, started to be used as temporary exhibition space for trade shows and visiting art exhibitions. Some parts of the museum were also used to showcase works from those of Munich's art galleries that had been destroyed during the war. In 2002, the National Collection of Modern and Contemporary Arts moved into the Pinakothek der Moderne. Today, while housing no permanent art exhibition of its own, the museum is still used as a showcase venue for temporary exhibitions and traveling exhibitions.References:
Het Steen is a medieval fortress in the old city centre of Antwerp. Built after the Viking incursions in the early Middle Ages as the first stone fortress of Antwerp, Het Steen is Antwerp's oldest building and used to be its oldest urban centre.
Previously known as Antwerpen Burcht (fortress), Het Steen gained its current name in around 1520, after significant rebuilding under Charles V. The fortress made it possible to control the access to the Scheldt, the river on whose bank it stands. It was used as a prison between 1303 and 1827. The largest part of the fortress, including dozens of historic houses and the oldest church of the city, was demolished in the 19th century when the quays were straightened to stop the silting up of the Scheldt. The remaining building, heavily changed, contains a shipping museum, with some old canal barges displayed on the quay outside.
In 1890 Het Steen became the museum of archeology and in 1952 an annex was added to house the museum of Antwerp maritime history, which in 2011 moved to the nearby Museum Aan de Stroom. Here you’ll also find a war memorial to the Canadian soldiers in WWII.
There are some beautiful plaques on the back side of the Steen Castle at Antwerp. Canadian visitors will especially want to see the plaques thanking the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry for their part in the liberation of Antwerp, in 1944.
At the entrance to Het Steen is a bas-relief of Semini, above the archway, around 2nd century. Semini is the Scandinavian God of youth and fertility (with symbolic phallus). A historical plaque near Het Steen explains that women of the town appealed to Semini when they desired children; the god was reviled by later religious clergy. Inhabitants of Antwerp previously referred to themselves as 'children of Semini'.
At the entrance bridge to the castle is a statue of a giant and two humans. It depicts the giant Lange Wapper who used to terrorise the inhabitants of the city in medieval times.