Guild houses at Antwerp's Great Market with the Cathedral of Our Lady in the background. Antwerp is one of the few central European cities with a largely preserved historical center. Due to the many still existing architectural and art monuments from the heyday of the city (late Middle Ages, Renaissance and Baroque) Antwerp is considered a culturally very rich city.
The house on the left (No. 40), called "Rodenborch", dates back to 1644. The façade has a special architectural and historical value and is one of the oldest surviving examples of Baroque guild houses. The depictions of woodwork are reminiscent of the time when the guild of woodworkers owned the house.
The even older house on the right (No. 38), also called "Da Balans", was rebuilt shortly after the great fire of 1541, which devastated the Maalderijstraat and its surroundings. It has a remarkable façade in the Renaissance style, the design and proportions of which are reminiscent of the Gothic façade type. The semicircular frames contain symbolic representations of commerce and industry. Apparently, there was a tavern on the ground floor, as it is today, which at that time was probably geared towards Bavarian specialties ("Maison de Bavière"), while today beeing an Irish pub.