Antwarpen Belgium

Why visit Antwerp

If you are passing by Belgium, and you have some days to explorer, the Antwerp is one of the must see cities, a cozy harbor city. It is the cultural capital of Flanders, the Dutch-speaking northern area of Belgium. Antwerp is both a bustling industrial port city and an outstanding historic center for Belgian craftwork and artistry. The city was once home to such famous artists as Rubens, van Dyck, and Jordaens, while centuries of prosperity through trade and commerce have bequeathed an inheritance of architectural beauty, which includes the magnificent cathedral, the town hall, and many other outstanding historical buildings in the old town center.

It is a diverse city where old architecture meets modern style. Antwerp ZOO is one of the oldest wildlife parks in Europe and it is a nice place to stroll through. Are you more into art, culture and architecture? You must see the Port House, designed by the famous architect Zaha Hadid. 

Lovers of culture, art, fashion, gastronomy, history and wellness will all find what they are looking for in Antwerp. You will easily be able to spend one or two days here.

An absolute must-do in Antwerp is a (historical) city walk. The old city center is perfect for interesting walks and there are plenty of opportunities to stop at a restaurant or bar along the way. 

Antwerp Harbor by architect Zaha Hadid

The lower part used to be a fire station at the far end of the harbour. During the renovation, this beautiful barracks has been preserved and now this place is designated to be the beginning of the extensive port area. There is no clearer symbol of the growth of the port of Antwerp. The new part is poised above the historic fire station like a glittering diamond, with its tip pointing towards the Scheldt like the prow of a ship. The glass superstructure reflects the varying shades of port, water and air. The flat and rippling surfaces, alternating between each other, represent the waves of the Scheldt. The glistening diamond is a clear reference to the Antwerp diamond trade. This is a metaphor for the port of the 21st century: a port with a rich past, ready for the future.

In the atrium, you can take in the scale of the port and the city from the large aerial photo

As a whole, it delivers a lovely example of spectacle architecture, characteristic of Zaha Hadid, a renowned British architect hailing from Iraq. Zaha Hadid has built striking buildings all over the world, including the Guangzhou opera house in China, the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku, Azerbaijan, and the Riverside Museum in Glasgow.

Other places to see in Antwerp:

  • Cathedral of Our Lady
  • Grand Place (Grote Markt) with the City Hall 
  • Remember Belgium is a Chocolate Nation, try them out :-) 
  • Museum aan de Stroom (MAS)
    Antwerp's municipal museum is housed in a fine example of modern architecture that features a geometric configuration of variegated stone and wave-shaped glass panels. This 10-story building resembles a child's block puzzle, and sits overlooking the harbor on the former site of the Hanseatic warehouse. 
  • Royal Museum of Fine Arts (Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten)