Event overview

EXPO | Children in Care. Six centuries, three locations, one story

The exhibition 'Children in Care. Six centuries, three locations, one story' will run from 10 September 2023 till 7 January 7 2024 (in Dutch).

Instituut voor Tropische Geneeskunde, het Maagdenhuis & Universiteit Antwerpen (Antwerpen)

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One exhibition, three locations

The exhibition 'Children in care. Six centuries, three locations, one story' sheds light on a lesser-known part of Antwerp's history: the care and support provided to orphans, foundlings, and other vulnerable children throughout the centuries. Who were the 'Children in Care'? The exhibition is a collaboration between ITM, the Maiden's House and the University of Antwerp. 'Children in Care' reveals the practices and experiences of the former Foundling House (ITM), Servant's House (UA), and the Maiden's House. It offers a unique opportunity to visit three exceptional locations, providing insights into the historical and contemporary aspects of these institutions.

The exposition will be exclusively available in Dutch.

The Foundling House and the first thousand days of the child

At the corner of Nationalestraat and Sint-Rochusstraat, where the monumental art-deco building of the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) now stands, was once the Foundling House. Until the end of the 19th century, young mothers would leave their newborns here in a foundling chute. Many foundlings ended up in the countryside, where they were outsourced as cheap labour forces.

The first thousand days

What we know today about the first thousand days of a child's life is in stark contrast to the lives of these foundlings. We illustrate the importance of those first thousand days and how they determine a child's future. We look at how ITM continues to have an impact on the well-being of children and mothers worldwide today.

From parish of misery to Antwerp's beating heart

The fourth district was once known as Antwerp's poorest neighbourhood. Why was the Foundling House located here, and what led to the later construction of the Institute of Tropical Medicine?

Unique opportunity to visit ITM

During this exhibition, we will open our doors permanently to the general public for the first time. Explore with us the captivating story of the past, present and future of early childhood healthcare in ITM's exceptionally well-preserved art-deco building.


  • Period: 10 September 2023 - 7 January 2024

  • Locations:

    • Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM)

    • Maiden's House Museum

    • University of Antwerp (UAntwerpen)

  • Tickets:

    • Price: 13 euros (booking starting August 2023)

    • A ticket allows you access to the Foundling House, Servant's House and Maiden's House. Tickets remain valid as long as the expo is ongoing.

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