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Kiezelweg 17, B-2400 Mol
Antwerp, Flemish Region
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Understand Antwerp

Antwerp (Flemish: Antwerpen, French: Anvers) is a major destination of Belgium in the region of Flanders. Antwerp claims to be the "world's leading diamond city". It has every right to claim this, as more than 70% of all diamonds are traded in Antwerp. More than 85% of the world’s rough diamonds, 50% of cut diamonds and 40% of industrial diamonds are traded in the city.

Antwerp is a very old city. There have been excavations from the Gallo-Roman times. It's name probably comes from "aan de werpe", which is Dutch for "at the throw" referring to where the river throws its sand. The name also has a funny anecdote saying it comes from "Hand werpen", which translated is "throwing (a) hand(s)". In the official flag, the castle "het Steen" and the hand of Antwerp are shown.

In the 16th century, Antwerp was one of the most important financial centres of the world, where traders from all over Europe and Asia sold and bought their goods. After the siege of Antwerp in 1585 by the Spanish, this role as a financial centre was taken over by Amsterdam. Nevertheless, since the 19th century and especially the 20th century, Antwerp has made a serious economic comeback. At present it is the second largest city in Belgium (appr. 450.000 people, 1.25 million in the metropolitan area), and it has the second largest port in Europe.

Due to its long and culturally rich history, the city of Antwerp houses many interesting historical buildings from different historical periods, as well as a lot of interesting museums. On top of that, during the last years it has become kind of a trendy city, attracting a lot of Flemish and foreign artists, writers, intellectuals and actors. This is reflected in the city's many trendy bars and shops. Antwerp is a city with many faces. It may not be historically preserved as fully as other Flemish medieval cities like Bruges or, to a certain extent, Ghent, it is first of all a very dynamic city, offering a perfect mix of history and present-day modern life.

Modified: 2007-02-14 11:28:45+01
Source: http://wikitravel.org/en/Antwerp


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