Flander’s pride, this large metropolis of Antwerp boasts more than just the architectural grand of the 16th century Belgium. You don’t need to be a history buff to experience Antwerp and all that it holds. All you need is to see, to behold that Antwerp is there for the artist in you.
Diamonds and precious Rubins aside, this city in the North of Belgium has one of the largest seaports in all of Europe alongside its painted finesse. Even today, it is gaining fame since the Antwerp Six came out; a six person group of fashion designers that lend their prowess to an outburst of urban fashion and the historic city itself. Often the bustling populace here is lovingly called ‘Sinjoren’. It is an allusion to the Spanish Señor, the lords of the Spanish community circa 1600s that ruled over Antwerp and a hint at the fashion and trends you will experience in this rising fashion city.
Antwerp is a small metropolis: Easy to navigate and pocket sized even for the weary bag-packers on foot. 1/5 of Antwerp is pedestrian zoned but hey, we all get a little strung after exploring so on those times just get on a bus or jump on the tram! The web tram of the city is spread out widely, reaching every possible crevice of Antwerp. You can cycle your way through, available nearly everywhere for a greener way to explore. Convenient and doable—Antwerp has its ways for you.
Museums and Cathedrals Antwerp — Europe’s Finest
where would we be without a mention of the famous Cathedral of Our Lady? The highest Gothic building in the Low Countries, so grand that it took 169 years of hard labour to complete, filled with priceless Rubens and heaven forth skyline.
You can visit Ruben’s house! Step into the haven of the leading Baroque artist of his era, where he entertained Europe’s nobility and royalty, where he made the masterpieces worth the world’s gold, all stored in a glorious art room. His influence on Antwerp is eminent as you step into the gorgeous house on the Wapper, as if he himself will come and guide you along.
Are you starving? Well, hop on over to Schuttershofstraat or Hopeland and seat yourself at the many eateries, enjoy the typical shrimp croquettes. Just don’t spend all the money on food and forget to visit the recently restored municipal dance hall or Stadsfeestzaal, which has now been turned into an upscale shopping center. Go shopping in the many haute couture and design outlets located all over.
Want a bit of urban pop and history fusion? Just head on over to MHKA, Antwerp’s contemporary art museum or maybe the Royal Museum of Fine Arts.
Glimpse yourself in the Water Mirror designed by Cristina Iglesias or give your feet a rest on the ginormous Ann Demeulemeester bench. Or visit ‘The New Law Courts’ designed by British architect Richard Rogers. Something the locals call ‘Vlinderpaleis’ or ‘Butterfly Palace’. The building’s shimmering roofs in the late afternoon sun make it just as romantic as the reference itself. Just as all Antwerp is.
Outside the city
Now it all can’t be just architecture and fashion. Sometimes quiet and greenery, are the words and somewhat better than the quaint countryside of Antwerp, located at the outskirts of the fabled town. The Antwerp Campine region is to the north east of Antwerp. Known for picturesque landscapes, pine forests, storybook villages and convivial towns the area is known for wholesome and natural! Walking and cycling routes form trails across the area and excellent Flemish dishes or handmade goods are worthwhile stopping for!