Antwerp is the most incredible and modern city in Belgium. However, it is not a big city. Some gems of history remain even after the extensive bombing during World War II, and Cathedral of Our Lady is a classic example.
Grand Market Place and Brabo's Monument
Grand Market Place (Grote Markt van Antwerpen) is called the historical and cultural heart of the city. The place is surrounded by luxurious 16th-century guild houses and the Cathedral of Our Lady. The Brabo Statue at the Grote Market is dedicated to Barbo, who once saved the city from a giant named Antigoon, who cut off hands if travellers refused to pay the toll for crossing the Scheldt River. Barbo fought with the giant, chopped off his hand, and threw it in the river. When translated in Dutch, 'hand throwing' means 'Hantwerpen', hence the city's name 'Antwerpen'. The statue holds a lot of symbolic value for Antwerp's residents. You can also take a short walk along the river to visit Het Zuid, which has fashionable boutiques, cosy cafés, and craft beer breweries.
Address: Grote Markt, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium.
Antwerpen Central Station
The Antwerpen Central Station is a significant monument in Antwerp. It was the terminal for the oldest railway track in Belgium between Brussels and Antwerp via Mechelen. Louis Delacenserie designed the architecture in neo bark style with the help of marble, glass, and stone. The platforms are sheltered by colossal iron and glass domes. Its interiors can be compared to any European palace.
Address: Koning Astrid Plein, 2018 Antwerp, Belgium.
Photo Credit: Ziko-C / CC BY-SA 3.0
Antwerp is known as the world's diamond capital for its trading in 85% of the world's unpolished diamonds. The city's Diamond district is located near the Central Station, where you can shop for diamonds and jewellery. Watch the work of polishers, cutters, and goldsmiths and learn how a rough diamond is cut and polished. Though there are some Indian, Lebanese, Russian and Chinese gem dealers in the diamond hub, creating a multicultural atmosphere, most of the diamond trading in the city is still run by the Hassidic Jewish community.
Address: Hoveniersstraat 53, 2018 Antwerp, Belgium .
Cathedral of Our Lady
Cathedral of Our Lady is one of the first gothic masterpieces in Europe. What was once a church became a cathedral in 1559, replacing a 12th-century Roman church. It was the tallest building in the Low Countries for many centuries, and even now, it is the tallest one in Antwerp City. The cathedral's interior catches instant attention due to Ruben's four paintings, 'Descent from the Cross', 'Elevation from the cross', 'Resurrection Triptych' and 'The Assumption'.
Address: Groenplaats 21, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium.
Following are must-see museums in Antwerp. Please click here for more details.
Museum aan de Stroom (MAS)
Rubens House (Rubenshuis)
Butcher's Hall (Vleeshuis)
De Koninck Antwerp City Brewery
It is Antwerp's last remaining city brewery. It has a beer-making history dating back to 1833. Enjoy a self-guided brewery tour. There are some interactive exhibitions. You can take a walkway looking out over the brewery floor and a beer tasting. And Sample authentic Belgian beer brewed on-site.
The Antwerp Zoo is located near the Railway Station. Nearly 6,000 animals share the space here, and it is one of the world's oldest and biggest zoos since its establishment in 1843. It is highly graded among all conservationists due to its contribution to the research and preservation of endangered species.
Address: Koningin Astridplein 20-26, 2018 Antwerp, Belgium.
Het Steen was initially used for fortification purposes encircling the alluvial mound. From the time it was built in the 11th century, it has survived many attacks. It is called Het Steen because 'Steen' in Dutch means' stone', and the fort was among the first stone constructions in Belgium. Over the years, its architecture has been altered many times. Once used as a prison, now it houses a National Maritime Museum.
Address: Steenplein 1, B-2000 Antwerp, Belgium.
The Antwerp Port has always been responsible for transforming the city into what it is today, modern, cosmopolitan and flourishing. It is the second-largest port in Europe and a place for significant trading in cargo daily. For all classes of people, be it the tourists, locals, students, migrants, artists, the port has always been a centre of attraction.
Address: Zaha Hadidplein 1, 2030 Antwerp, Belgium.
Saint Carolus Borromeus Church
This church is an excellent example of Ruben's artwork. What we see today of its interiors has been chiefly done by Ruben. The church was initially constructed by a Jesuit mathematician, François D'Aquila, who named it Ignatius church. After it was sold by the Jesuit's to the Parish, they named it Saint Carolus Borromeus Church. The paintings, wooden sculptures, and monuments tell the story of the church's magnificence and position in previous eras.
Address: Hendrik Conscienceplein, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium.