About Antwerp

City center part 1
Old Town
  City center part 2
Old Town
  City center part 3
Old Town

Grote Markt
Cathedral of Our Lady
City Hall

  Central Station
Groenplaats, Kon. Astridplein
Meir, Leysstraat, De Keyserlei

  Het Steen (castle)
River Schelde
Harbour and riverfront   Outskirts
Museum and er Stroom
River Schelde
  Antwerp Lawcourts
Zurenborg (Berchem)


ABOUT Antwerp

Population: 503 000 (metro 1 191 000)
Other names:
Antwerpen, Anvers
Tallest building:
Cathedral of Our Lady (123m)
Antwerp Province, Flemish Region
Founded year (city rights):
204.51 km²
Year visited:

Antwerp -Antwerpen in Flemish (and Swedish), Belgium's 2nd largest city, is situated in the Flamish speaking region. It is famous for its diamond industry, fashion, its renaissance architecture and the works of Rubens, Teniers and van Dyck, whose art can be seen in museums and public buildings. The city also has Europe's 3rd busiest harbour, and the river Schelde flows through the city.

There are many churches and squares in the city, Grote Markt is the most important and is considered the core of Antwerp. Here you find both the Cathedral of Our Lady and the Town Hall. According to folklore, the name Antwerpen comes from a hero that killed a giant called Antigoon. There is a statue in front of the town hall that celebrates that. The city center is small, and everywhere you find beautiful historic buildings, many in Flemish Renaissance style, restaurants, waffelstands, chocolate stores and museums, Rubens Museum is one of the most popular. Meir is the major pedestrain street that passes many of the most important sights in the Old Town. The Main Railway Station sis also on of the most prominent buildings in the city center, is is also considered one of the world's most beautiful train stations. Het Steen (the stone) is a beautiuful medieval fort that is situated right next to the river, and KBC Tower, Europe's first skyscraper was built in Antwerp's city center, still one of the few in the city that is more dominated by historic buildings. Among the most modern large buildings of Antwerp is Museum and der Stroom and Antwerp lawcourts noticable.There is also a large zoo in the city center. The Olympic Games were held here in 1920 and it is today a student city with an important university. In the beginning of the 1500s, it was Europe's most important industrial and trade center, the 3rd largest city in the whole Europe and the world's most powerful economical center.

Antwerp has lately also been known as a multicultural city, with a high percentage of Turkish immigrants. The inhabitants of Antwerpen are locally nicknamed "Sinjoren" after the Spanish noblemen who ruled the city in the 17th century. The city is divided into 9 districts. Antwerp is trafficated by white trams, both old and new ones, and buses.


We visited Antwerp on the last half day on our 5 day Belgium trip (Brussels and Graspop was the main focus), so we didn't have much time, but since the city center is very compact, we managed to see the most important sights. Even though it was a bit stressful, we managed to sit on the Town Hall Square (Grote Markt) and relax for a while. At first the sky was a bit grey, but the sun started to shine after some hours. It is a nice city, in a human scale, with beautiful historic buildings, a river and pedestrian streets. Actually it feels more like a 200 000 inhabitant city then half a million (even almost 1.2 millions with suburbs). It feels much smaller then Brussels for example. That is because of the small size of the city center, and because the streets are a bit abandoned as soon as you leave the historical core. The exception is traffic, that can be chaotic at times. And also, when you live the city you find out it is really a bit, spread out city, even if the core is very small.

The end of the trip could be better though. When we arrived in Antwerp, a train strike was starting to take place in Belgium, so the train stopped in Lier, and with no replacment bus or anything we were trapped in this small city for an hour, before we found a local bus that took us to the outskirts of Antwerp, were we could change to another bus to the railway station. So we were late to Antwerp, and it became very stressful to experience the city. When we arrived they told us that the trains to Brussels Airport, were we should catch our flight some hours later, were still in use. But after the sightseeing trip, there was a strike even on that line, so we thought how the hell are we supposed to get to the airport now? Talk about unluck! The staff at the railway station was very rude and there was no way to get to the airport (taxis took criminal prices!) but when we asked at the Radisson hotel, we were politely told that there is a bus service to Brussels Airport. So it wasn't harder then that. But finally on the bus we were almost trapped in a heavy traffic jam and it took almost one hour instead of the approximated 30 minutes, so we had to run through the whole airport! Belgium's train service is the worst I have ever experienced (even worse then Sweden)!