The 5 Most Impressive Belgian Art Foundations

Belgium is a hotspot for contemporary art. Belgians are known for being curious and daring art collectors, and over the last few years private art foundations have been popping up all over the country—a trend we can only applaud. Why hide your art? Show it to the world! The I Love Belgium team traveled around the country to tally up the most impressive of these collections. Yes, some of them may be in the middle of nowhere, but they’re so worth the drive (and anyway, Belgium's a small country!). 

The Verbeke Foundation in Kemezeke is a private art complex that combines culture, nature, and ecology. Housed in the warehouses of the former Verbeke transport agency, it's one of the largest private initiatives for contemporary art in Europe. In addition to temporary exhibitions, the foundation displays a permanent collection of modern and contemporary art, including an extraordinary selection of collages and assemblage by prominent Dadaists, surrealists, and constructivists. All of this is spread over the foundation's grounds, making the most of its forest and greenhouses. There's even a small farmhouse for artist residencies. The Verbeke Foundation is like a living organism—it's in a process of continual growth and looks different from one day to the next!


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The Vanhaerents Art Collection is the private museum of contractor and art collector Walter Vanhaerents, located in an ancient three-floor warehouse in the heart of Brussels. The family-owned collection contains works from the 1970s through to today, giving you the opportunity to view works by emerging artists alongside those of the more established artists by whom they were inspired. The work of Andy Warhol is the starting point of the collection and his influence is present throughout the collection: in the works of Cindy Sherman,  Barbara Kruger, Jenny Holzer, and Allan McCollum.

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 Since the opening of The Vanmoerkerke Collection in Ostend in 2008, collector Mark Vanmoerkerke has invited a different curator to mount a show there every six months, he then opens the space to the public. Vanmoerkerke aims to have the best holding of European and American contemporary artists currently working in painting, sculpture, photography and video, and his collection includes pieces by Ed Ruscha, Andreas Gursky, Cindy Sherman, and David Claerbout.


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The Herbert Collection centers on international avant-garde art created between 1968 and 1989. These two dates anchor the framework in which the collection situates itself ideologically; they represent two historical turning points: the 1968 student-led revolts and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

The collection began in 1973 with the acquisition of Carl Andre’s 64 Lead Square (1969). But its roots date back to the renown collection of Flemish expressionist works amassed by Tony Herbert, the father of current curator Anton Herbert. After careful renovations of the industrial exhibition space, the foundation began admitting the public for two days a week in July, 2013. Through October 26, 2013, a selection of 50 works and 250 archival records from the collection will be on display in the first exhibition, As if it Could.

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Fondation A Stichting

Fondation A Stichting opened its doors in 2012 in south Brussels, on the site of the former Bata shoe factories. Created on the initiative of Astrid Ullens de Schooten, its mission is to support the creation, knowledge, and preservation of the photographic image. It organizes three temporary exhibitions each year, accompanied by educational workshops, and works toward forming creative partnerships with other Belgian and international cultural institutions.


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