The 19th century façades on the street side don't make you think that this is in fact a 16th century building by Domien de Waghemakere, with a nice inner court. In 1515, the architect Domien de Waghemakere was reponsible for replacing the 15th century wooden construction of the 'old exchange', building a new, stone building called 'The Large Rhine'. Just as its wooden predecessor, it was having an inner open place, surrounded by pillars.
Already in 1526-27, the new building was too small to hold the exchange market, and so the business men asked for a larger building. In 1533, the 'old exchange' was closed and at least partially broken off. In 1616, several parts of 'the Rhine' were reconstructed.
The façades in 16th century traditional architecture (maconry and sandstone) give the building a quiet atmosphere. There is a galery. Between the pillars carrying nice capitals, there are trilobates. In a corner, one finds a tower with a belvédère.
After Jeroen Saenen (translated by us): 'This building is probably the first 'stock exchange' in Antwerp, and therefore historically an important building. Before Antwerp became a wealthy city, Bruges was the economic leader (the Venice of the North). There - one finds the real roots of the 'Beurs' or stock exchange. In Bruges - on the 'Beursplace' (currently called 'Academy square') foreign business men met in front of the salesman houses. The did business in the open air - or under awnings which had been placed there for that purpose. There was also an inn, where they could meet eachother. The owners of that inn wase the family 'Van der Beurze'. This was the source of people saying 'we go the the Beurs' (bouse... purse...).... which is still the current terminology in many languages.
Detail: After the declination of Antwerp, Amsterdam took the leading role, and built a copy of the Antwerp 'stock exchange' or 'bourse'. In its term, also London built a 'bourse'. Queen Elizabeth I though had forbidden the word 'Beurs', which led to the term 'Stock Exchange'. Probably, the Antwerp building construction was inspired on the one in Bruges: an open space surrounded by some awnings. Even the new beurs building refers to this.... being a buidling on the crossing of some streets, and originally not having any roof. '