Flemish Master James Ensor was an innovator, a gamechanger. His art has been invaluable in understanding the origins and development of modernism during the 20th century. He belongs to the small company of European avant-garde artists who, in a loosely connected group at the end of the 19th century, liberated painting from romantic heroism, appearances and banal realism. Ensor's view of humanity was sometimes light-hearted, often pessimistic but just as often lyrical and hilarious. By using imagery, form and colour autonomously and detached from reality, he created images in which an accurate representation of reality becomes secondary.

In 2024, it will be 75 years since the passing of James Ensor (1860 – 1949). Join us in celebrating the life of this renowned Flemish Master with various exhibitions, activities and events in Ostend, Brussels and Antwerp.

Ensor 2024 in flanders (map)

Ensor in Antwerp

Discover Ensor in Antwerp
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The largest exhibitions on Ensor in the world

Ensor expo FOMU - 3-5 Cindy Sherman - Untitled Film Still  © Cindy Sherman

Ensor's oeuvre translated into contemporary photography

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Contemporary make-up artists catapult Ensor into the 21st century

Pride, 1904, etching and watercolor, Collection City of Antwerp, Museum Plantin-Moretus, PK.MP.04981

The most remarkable results of Ensor's experiments

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Antwerp is easily accessible by car and public transport. From Brussels, you can get there in less than an hour.

Discover Antwerp with the Antwerp City pass

Thanks to the Antwerp City Pass, you have access to lots of tourist attractions, travel free of charge on public transport and enjoy lots of discounts. Choose a package lasting 24, 48 or 72 hours. Install the Antwerp City Pass on your smartphone and scan the QR-code in the participating museums and attractions.

Antwerp City Pass

48 hours in Antwerp, a splendid experience

Time speeds by when you’re in Antwerp. There is so much to experience here, from Baroque master Peter Paul Rubens’s artistic legacy, the Railway Cathedral, the port that is this city’s lifeblood, ground-breaking fashion, sparkling diamonds and much, much more. Prepare yourself for 48 hours in Antwerp.

The Port house - Havenhuis 3 © Havenbedrijf Antwerpen - Peter Knoop

Ensor in Ostend

Multifaceted city festival in Ostend
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Multifaceted city festival that shows the true face of 'the man behind the masks'

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Immerse you in the world of James Ensor, through more than 80 activities, including 27 exhibitions

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See how the city by the sea inspired him

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Easy to get to from all over Flanders

Ostend, gem on the North Sea

Oh Ostend, gem on the North Sea. This seaside resort combines the grandeur of the Belle Époque with the artistic flair of James Ensor and his many successors. Similar to that artistic pioneer, art triennial Beaufort and street art festival The Crystal Ship have left indelible marks on the city. Today’s Ostend is artistic, modern and vibrant without sacrificing its original identity. The city retains a connection to its roots as an - occasionally rough - fishing community. Visit its many restaurants, from casual to chic, to dine on the purest of shrimps, mussels or sole.

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Discover Ensor in Brussels

Although James Ensor is inextricably linked to his beloved hometown of Ostend, Brussels also played a vital role in his life and career. Ensor studied there for three years at the Royal Academy. Fernand Khnopff and other up-and-coming talents were among his fellow students. He returned to Ostend, but would maintain a special bond with the capital throughout his life, exhibiting and staying there several times.

KBR Ensor

James Ensor. Inspired by Brussels

James Ensor Bozar

‘James Ensor. Maestro’