The secret garden of the Rubens’ House Museum, Antwerp

Burton could have shot 'Alice in Wonderland' here.Peter Paul Rubens bought a house on Wapper Street in Antwerp back in 1611. The beautiful residence served as his home and studio, and though it changed hands many times after his death in 1640 and eventually fell into disrepair, in 1937, it was fully restored to its original glory and glamor — including the astonishingly beautiful courtyard garden.

Even if you’re not big on museums, it’s worth visiting the Rubens’ House Museum just to stroll in the Italian palazzo-style garden. Images from The Secret Garden and even The Labyrinth will saturate your mind as you wander through, digesting the works of Rubens and the world’s largest collection of paintings by Jan Bruegel the Elder, including an entire subcollection of gallery paintings (example), all of which I would like to have in my house. If you would rather not see the collections, you can ask the guard to let you directly into the courtyard, as it comes at the end of the house tour. You’ll probably get a funny look, but it will be worth it.

Though I couldn’t photograph the rich, dark wooden interiors of the house, I was able to get some great shots of the courtyard. I can only imagine what it looks like now, as the flowers begin to bloom. Consider this your daily dose of romanticism:

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My visit to Antwerp was sponsored by Tourism Antwerp and Cool Capitals, but the opinions expressed in the article are 100% my own.