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With the backing of the now merged Agfa-Gevaert, Karel Sano and Piet Baudouin, department manager at Gevaert Photoproducten N.V. and then curator of the Sterckshof Museum, respectively, organised an exhibition entitled ‘125 Years of Photography’ in the Provincial Museum for Arts and Crafts Sterckshof in Deurne in 1965. On the back of this exhibition, the loans from the Agfa-Gevaert company, together with the archives of its former publishing department, were signed over to the Province of Antwerp. This collection represented the start of a permanent department within the museum dedicated to the history of photography. The running of this department was entrusted to the Foto & Film working committee under the watchful eye of Karel Sano, later succeeded by doctor Laurent Roosens. From 1973 onwards, the responsibilities of this working committee were gradually transferred to the scientific staff of the Sterckshof Museum.

Sterckshof 1
Provincial Museum for Arts and Crafts Sterckshof in Deurne

Under the leadership of historian Roger Coenen - later to be assisted by art historian Pool Andries - the camera, photography and library collections outgrew the Sterckshof. In late 1980, the department moved to an office building in the Karel Oomsstraat in Antwerp, where it was re-named ‘Museum for Photography’. In 1986, the museum and its collections found a permanent home in the renovated Flanders warehouse on the Waalsekaai.

Architect Georges Baines built a new wing to the warehouse, drastically increasing its capacity. The year 2000 saw the start of another major renovation. After four years, the renovated Photo Museum opened with 1400m2of exhibition space, two cinema theatres, a number of extra depots, an enlarged entrance hall and a workshop space.

FOMU 1986 Gevel

In 2009, the museum received national recognition. Its capacity was further increased with the construction of the Lieven Gevaert Tower, the first low-energy depot for photography in Europe.

Today, the FOMU is a fully-fledged (inter)national heritage management institution that has grown in terms of not only infrastructure, but also operations and personnel

Fo Mu Mei 2021 LOW Res 37
© Monday Agbonzee Jr. / FOMU



FOMU is one of the most prestigious and leading museums of photography in Europe. As an open house, we enter into dialogue with our audiences. FOMU collects and manages unique collections of photo images, equipment and photo books. FOMU creates ambitious exhibitions that contextualize and connect. FOMU is an ambassador for young talent and established photographers. FOMU inspires and enriches.


The FOMU has a collection of no less than 3 million objects. A collection plan was drawn up to manage this large collection. This plan provides insight into the composition and significance of the collection and describes the priorities and strategy for using the collection.

Discover the collection


FOMU is committed to international ICOM standards in the field of collection, storage, disclosure and research of the collections. The museum has been one of the nationally recognized museums since 2009, the highest quality level in Flanders.

  • Qualitative & dynamic
  • Including & committed
  • Experimental & innovative
  • Audience driven & extrovert