The oldest building in Antwerp is an 800-year old castle known as 'The Steen' (stone in English).
Only one building of the old part of Antwerp escaped demolition when the quays on the river Scheldt were constructed in the 19th century: 't Steen (the Stone). The Steen was built around the year 1200 as the fortification of the alluvial mound. It was named Steen, which is Dutch for stone, as it was one of the first buildings constructed in stone.
The Steen was altered several times during history. It was extended during Charles V's reign around 1520 by the architects Keldermans and De Waghemakere. The chapel above the entrance dates from this period.
From 1549 till 1823 the building served as a prison and in 1862 it became an archeological museum.
The Steen was renovated again in 1890 and a wing in neo-gothic style was added.
The Steen housed the National Maritime Museum until the end of 2008. Its collection was moved to the new MAS museum in 2010. You can however still visit a number of old vessels that are located adjacent to the ancient structure.