The city of Antwerp is going to submit a file to Flanders to recognize the Privilegiekom as a Flemish masterpiece. The historical repository of the Antwerp archives and dates from 1350. It is the last formed one that ever stood in the old (demolished) town hall. “Unique in its kind”, says city archivist Marie Juliette Marinus.
Meanwhile, the Privilege Suitcase of -kom is on display in the restored town hall. It has stood the test of time superbly and that for a chest made in 1350. She therefore played a major role in the history of Antwerp. In fact, the coffin preserved the freedoms of city rights, important important documents that described the rights of the city, such as the right to organize tolls of justice.
A valuable piece of Antwerp heritage with an important symbolism. And that is also the opinion of the Antwerp city council, which is starting the procedure to recognize the Privilegiekom as a Flemish masterpiece. With the Top Pieces List, Flanders receives unexpected and indispensable objects. There is also a subsidy scheme for land with a view to restoration.
The application for recognition comes after an extensive examination of the coffin. “And that has led us to a lot of new progress”, says city archivist Marie Juliette Marinus. “That’s how we discovered that the coffin was hewn from one colossal tree from the Black Forest. The coffin is held together by wrought iron bands and nails. Even if you attacked them with an ax, you wouldn’t get them open. She has also made calculations with caulk, a material with seams made waterproof. It shows how every effort was made to protect the contents of that chest. ”
The Privilegiekom even the Spanish Fury of 1576 and the fire in the town hall. “Then everything was done to carry the coffin from the town hall,” says Marinus.
And that must have been a chore. The box is two meters long and very heavy. The only way to open the chest was with eleven keys that matched the eleven locks that hung on the chest. “The box could only be designed if all eleven key holders were present,” says Marinus. “These were all people with important functions within the city. The Privilegekom is unique in its kind and the only and the last type of object in our possession that still stood in the old costume town hall of Antwerp. It originally stood where the Bouwdrager now stands, on the Suikerrui.”
In the meantime, the investigation into the heritage piece continues. “A smaller box has been found in the coffin,” says Marinus. “They were used to store the individual city rights, but we don’t know much more about them. I don’t expect that we will make any great discoveries yet.”