DISCOVER ANTWERP – Live it! Love it!

Few Belgians are as patriotic about their city as the ones from Antwerp. And why wouldn’t they be? The dynamic city has been a hotspot for arts, gastronomy, architecture, fashion and business for centuries and has never failed to remain relevant and to reinvent itself. When in Flanders, make sure you get acquainted with this unique city’s contagious joy de vivre and inspiring sense for entrepreneurship.

TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS | PHOTO © VISIT.FLANDERS/VISIT.ANTWERP

As Antwerp’s most popular idiom states: “Antwerp’s the city and all the rest is parking space”. Although that might sound a bit pretentious and must — of course — be taken with a grain of salt, it perfectly describes the feeling you have while strolling through the streets of Antwerp. As Belgium’s biggest city (it counts almost three times as many inhabitants as Brussels), the metropole is cloaked in a vibrant, yet warm atmosphere, and counts breathtaking sights galore.


Central Station.

Hidden secrets

Upon arrival, you won’t be able to stop yourself from gazing at its eclectic central station, which is often named as one of the prettiest railway stations in the world. Away from the tracks and inside the historic city centre, you will stumble upon many more amazing buildings and surprising hidden secrets. The Cathedral of Our Lady is the elegant queen of Antwerp’s skyline with its 123-metre high clock tower. In its shadow, other ancient treasures like the medieval Gravensteen castle, the narrow Vlaeykensgang passage and the majestic facades of the guildhalls will leave you breathless.


The Porthouse. Photo: Havenbedrijf Antwerp – Peter Knoop

Modern

Yet, stating that Antwerp is nothing more than an ancient city is a flagrant lie. Alongside its many stunning historic houses, the city features some of the nicest modern buildings in the country. The opening of MAS, the Museum at the Stream, in 2011, even preluded a new era of innovative gastronomy and avant-garde art at Het Eilandje, now one of Antwerp’s hottest districts. At the water, The Porthouse welcomes the arriving ships as a modern-day lighthouse. Its boat-like design is one of the last creations of world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid, who passed away in 2016.


MAS.

Art aficionados

As diverse as the city’s architecture is the eclectic art it displays. Antwerp’s museums are amongst the best in the country and vary from the contemporary M HKA to the elegant Rubenshuis, which zooms in on the Golden Age and Antwerp’s grandmaster: Pieter-Paul Rubens. As a world capital of fashion, the Modemuseum is an absolute must-see, as well. Housed in Antwerp’s legendary fashion academy, it is the exact place where big names like Walter Van Beirendonck and Dirk Bikkembergs learned the tricks of the trade. To put that passion for fashion further into practice, you cannot miss the Meir, either: the biggest shopping street in Belgium.


Grote Markt.

The place to be

These last decennia, Antwerp became a business hub to be reckoned with, as well. Its state-of-the-art Flanders Meeting & Convention Centre is the home of some of the world’s most important symposiums and gatherings. As the city also has the second-biggest port in Europe, Antwerp is well on its way to becoming one of Europe’s most important cities, without losing its natural charm and cosiness. Let us introduce you to our favourite spots in the city to sleep, dine and experience…

Find out more here: www.discoverbenelux.com


The Porthouse. Photo: Havenbedrijf Antwerp – Peter Knoop

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