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Kiezelweg 17, B-2400 Mol
Antwerp, Flemish Region
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What to See in Antwerp

Antwerp has long been an important city in the nations of the Benelux both economically and culturally. It is on the right bank of the river Scheldt which is linked to the North Sea by the Westerschelde. Antwerp's port, which is one of the world's largest, has a high level of cargo shipping and oil refineries traffic, and in Europe, only Rotterdam's port is larger.

North of Antwerp

  • Rubenshuis: Rubens' house is now a museum of his life and artwork. Entrance fee: 7€. Free audioguide (recommended). Bring light earphones to plug in to the audioguide. Very useful for not ending the visit with a tired arm.
  • Plantin Moretus museum: the home of 16th century bookbinder and printer Christoffel Plantin
  • One of the oldest zoos in the world, with over 4000 animals and lots of 19th century design and architecture.
  • Cathedral of Our Lady: one of the most impressive and biggest Gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe. It also houses some of Rubens' most famous paintings.
  • Carolus Borromaeus Church: unlike the cathedral, this is a Baroque church. Pretty unassuming when seen from the outside, but beautiful decorations (done by Rubens' studio) within.
  • City Hall/Old Market Square (Oude Markt): this is the historical centre of town. The market square is surrounded by the typical medieval guild houses you can find in most Flemish historical towns.
  • Vleeshuis: literally, this is the "Flesh house"! I think it used to be a trading place for cattle, but the architectural style of the building also reminds one of bacon in a certain way.
  • Het Steen ("The Stone", literally): This a rather small medieval castle on the banks of the river Schelde. It used to function as a city fortification, now it houses a naval museum.
  • Boerentoren ("Farmers' tower"): now called "KBC-tower" after the company that owns it, this skyscraper in the historical centre of town is said to be the oldest one on the European continent. It was built the beginning of the 1930s. It is located at the end of the Meir shopping street. There is an observation deck on the 25th floor (6E entry including an exhibition downstairs), from which you get fantastic views of the city, including the nearby Cathedral.
  • Bourla theatre: 19th century neo-classicist theatre building. Nice from the outside, even nicer if you manage to get in for a theater show or a concert.
  • Red Light District: like other cities such as Amsterdam and Hamburg, Antwerp also has its own red light district. It's pretty small and right in the centre of town (near Falconplein). If you want to visit just to do some sightseeing, consider going during the day. Although it's not as bad as it sounds, the district might be a little less safe at night.
  • Diamond District: This is the district south and southwest of the central station. As the name already indicates, this is an area where you will find countless jewelry shops, as well as the Antwerp Diamond Exchange, arguably the most important financial centre of the world's diamond industry. The district is also interesting from an ethnic and cultural perspective, since the diamond industry is for at least 50 % in the hands of the city's Jews. Antwerp has a rather large population of Jews (about 50,000 people), a lot of them orthodox. You might want to walk around a bit in this area and just take a look at the people. But remember: on Sabbath day, everybody stays inside their houses, and all the jewish shops are closed.
  • Aquatopia, reasonable aquarium in the basement of the Astrid Park Plaza hotel, tickets also available from the Zoo.
  • Antwerp Zoo One of the oldest Zoos in Europe. Home to more than 5000 animals. Nice grounds but some rather small cages for the animals.

South of Antwerp

Since the restoration a couple of years ago, the south of the city is known as the trendy part.

  • MUHKA : museum of contemporary art
  • Fotography museum : renovated in 2004
  • Fine Arts Museum : Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten boasts of an excellent collection of paintings from the 15th century right up to the 20th century. The museum's permanant collection has masters such as Peter Paul Rubens, Brueghel, Van Eyck, Anthony Van Dyck, Jacob Jordaens and James Ensor to name a few.
  • Zuiderpershuis is located on the "kaaien" and is a center for intercultural art.
  • Het Muntplein, a place where grafitti artists can make artworks without being chased by police. There are often very nice creations and there are grafitti contests on a regular basis.
  • Palace of Justice (Justitiepaleis): there are actually two of these. The old one is a 19th century red brick building on the Frankrijklei. The new one is a dominant, modern, white building in the south of Antwerp (Bolivarplaats). You can really hardly miss it once you're there. The architect of this building was Richard Rogers, who also built the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Millennium Dome in London.
  • Zurenborgh neighbourhood: this is a little off the beaten track. This neighbourhood in the south east of Antwerp (near the railway station Antwerpen-Berchem, look for 'Cogels-Osylei' on the map)is known for its eclectic, sometimes rather bizarre 19th century architecture. Consider taking a tram or bycicle to get there.
  • Middelheim Park: The center of Antwerp is not so very big, and once you cross the ringroad, you will mainly see suburbs. There are some nice parks outside the ringroad, though, and the Middelheim Park is one of them. It houses a permanent open-air exhibition of modern sculpture, including work by famous artists such as Rodin, Hans Arp, Henry Moore, and many others.

Modified: 2007-02-14 11:34:06+01
Source: http://wikitravel.org/en/Antwerp


Image Gallery

Het Steen (literally: 'The Stone')The Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (Cathedral of our Lady) at the Handschoenmarkt

Het Steen (literally: 'The Stone')

Het Steen (literally: 'The Stone')

Source: http://wikitravel.org/en/Antwerp


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