Suikerrui: gate to the underworld

Suikerrui: gate to the underworld

Round 1200 the Suikerrui formed the Southern border of the town, but pretty soon the city started to grow and the Suikerrui only held its function as an inner harbour. If you see a streetname that ends on rui, vliet, vest or brug, it means that there used to be water in the neighbourhood in former times. Unfortunately all this water has disappeared from the city, or maybe it is better to say that it is kept from sight, because…

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City Hall: a miraculous rebirth

City Hall: a miraculous rebirth

Since a few years the City Hall, situated in the middle of the Meir, has revived. This time not as a festive hall, but as a shopping centre. Shopping times two, one could say, as the complex lies within the main shopping boulevard of the town. The Hall was built in 1908 based on plans made by Alexis Van Mechelen. Van Mechelen found inspiration in classic architecture, but used the different elements freely in an eclectic style. Which is typical…

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Could I have a Tietz, please?

Could I have a Tietz, please?

German traders played a major role in the development of Antwerp in the 19th and early 20th centuries. One of the names that still rings a bell with some of the elder locals is Leonard Tietz. Where one can now find “A l’Innovation”, next to the Van Dyck statue along the Meir, Leonard Tietz opened his Grands Magasins. As the name implies, he found inspiration in the large department stores that had arisen in late 19th century Paris. One of…

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Popular sculptor has died

Popular sculptor has died

Saturday May 13th, Antwerp sculptor Wilfried Pas (1940-1977) unexpectedly passed away. Pas studied sculpture at the Antwerp Academy and after his studies he decided to come and live in this town. Adriaan Raemdonck, leader of the Zwarte Panter Galery introduced Pas in 1973. In those years Pas and Fred Bervoets, another Zwarte Panter artist, worked closely together and influenced one another. But most people will certainly remember Wilfried Pas as the man who succeeded in creating beautiful, lively bronze statues…

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World centre of diamond trade

World centre of diamond trade

Almost any diamond, at one time or another in its lifetime, passes through the Antwerp diamond quarter. In the nineteenth century it were jewish people who traded in diamonds. They used to travel by train from Antwerp to Amsterdam and back. So it is only natural that you can find the diamond quarter right next to Central Station. Part of the diamond quarter is sealed off for traffic, but as a pedestrian you can freely walk there. Take notice: Big…

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MAS: a Museum at the Stream

MAS: a Museum at the Stream

In between the two oldest docks of the Antwerp harbour a remarkable building stands, built in a striking red colour: the MAS. Collections of more than three separate musea have been gathered here to tell the story of our town and its harbour. Each floor of the museum tells a part of this fascinating story. The 2nd floor allows you to have a peek at how a museum works. Here you can see part of the depot: the objects that…

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Rockoxhuis: another example of wealth from the Golden Age

Rockoxhuis: another example of wealth from the Golden Age

The mansion that was once occupied by mayor Nicholaas Rockox now houses a museum. In the early 17th century Nicholaas Rockox bought two houses in the Keizerstraat and had them rebuilt into one large mansion with an inner court. Over the years the building changed appearance. It’s got a completely new facade early 18th century as one can still see in an inscription on top today: 1702. Late 19th century  it was turned into an antique shop and each and…

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Van Straelentower: the higher the richer

Van Straelentower: the higher the richer

In the neighbourhood of Hof van Liere and Saint-James’ Church (St-Jacob) you can find a very nice example of a ‘pagadder’ tower. The tower belonged to the mansion of mayor Gilbert Van Straelen. He lived in the 16th century. You can find the tower in the Korte St-Annastraat at the end of the Frans Halsplein. The word pagadder is a bastardization of the Spanish pagador or paymaster. In the local dialect pagadder for some reason has become the name for…

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Quite an introduction!

Quite an introduction!

If you want to have a really nice idea of some of the nice things the city of Antwerp has in store for you, visit https://app.nimia.com/video/6528/i-love-antwerp-antwarpe-39kzien-a-zoe-geire-tjoez-, enjoy the video and then get ready to enjoy the real thing. Some of the things you’ll see: Central Station, Groenplaats, Cathedral, skyline, pedestrian tunnel, … All pictures were taken a few years ago (2012) and you’ll get a chance to hear the local dialect as sung by a band called the Strangers.

Meir: a swamp turned into a shopping center

Meir: a swamp turned into a shopping center

Today the Meir is the shopping heart of Antwerp, visited by millions of people each year. Around 300.000 people a week visit the Meir, so be sure you’ll never feel alone. Most of the buildings you see there date from the 20th century. Two notable exceptions you will find in the middle part. Both are works of Jan-Pieter van Baurscheidt, the most important architect of the 18th century. He built the Osterriethhouse (currently under restauration) and the so-called Royal Palace,…

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