- tourist guide to some of Antwerp's most
ancient port of Antwerp retains numerous reminders of its sixteenth century golden
age, including medieval churches, historic buildings and market squares. Antwerp
is a city with strong artistic roots. Rubens produced some of his finest works
here and it should come as no surprise that Antwerp has a fine collection of museums.
internationally as the world's diamond centre, Antwerp is also a top destination
for innovative fashion design. 'The Antwerp Six' put the city on the world fashion
map, when during the eighties, Antwerp's Mode Museum produced such pioneers as
Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten, Dirk Bikkembergs, Walter Van Beirendonck,
Dirk Van Saene, Marina Yee and Martin Margiela.
your interests, Antwerp is a wonderful city to explore. It exudes European charm,
with its beautifully preserved narrow streets, ancient buildings, atmospheric
lanes and alley ways. The city has many bars and restaurants, serving excellent
food, wines and Belgian beers. If you are not specifically looking to buy diamonds,
Antwerp is a wonderful place to do some serious fashion shopping. In addition
to established names, you will discover many exciting, up and coming young designers.
to see in Antwerp - a
brief description of Antwerp's major landmarks
Markt (Big Market Square), Antwerp - City
considered to be the centre of Antwerp, this bustling, triangular shaped market
is flanked on one side by a row of 16th and 17th century Guild Houses and on the
other two sides by rows of exciting shops, barsand restaurants. |
annual Christmas Market attracts thousands of visitors seeking
including foods, wines, delicacies and both traditional and innovative decorative
solutions. Admission is free and includes evening music concerts.
At the centre of the Grote Markt, set in a fountain, is one of Antwerp's
most well known landmarks - the Brabo Statue (created by Jef Lambeaux in 1887).
Legend speaks of Antigoon, a ruthless giant who would extort money from sailors
in exchange for safe passage along the River Scheldt.
is said that one day Silvius Brabo, a Roman soldier, killed Antigoon - cutting
off his huge hand and throwing it into the river. Brabo, a much loved character,
has become a main part of Antwerp's history and tourist industry.
Cathedral (Onze Lieve Vrouwe), Antwerp
- City Centre |
construction of the Church of Our Lady (Onze Lieve Vrouwe) started in 1352 and
continued for the next two centuries.
The church achieved Cathedral status
in 1559 and is now considered to be one of Europe's most important cathedrals,
attracting visitors who marvel at the spire (which rises to 123 metres), the three
major paintings by Rubens and the breathtaking collection of 34 stained glass
for more information from the Cathedral's official website...
Station, Antwerp -
main building, neo-Baroque in style, was completed in 1905 by architect Louis
Delacenserie; the huge glass and metal dome was designed by architect Clement
Construction on the new extension was started in 1998 and
provides a high speed rail link to the Antwerp - Dutch border.
around the South of the Central Station is the heart of the world famous diamond
district of Antwerp.
of Justice, Antwerp
of Antwerp's newest landmarks, this impressive building was designed by the Richard
Rogers Partnership in conjunction with the Belgian architects VK Studio. The building
is situated on the site of the Bolivarplaats and forms a modern gateway to the
More achitectural details...
Law Courts were opened on 28 March 2006 - housing 8 separate civil and criminal
courts, 36 courtrooms, a library and an impressive public hall (Salle des Pas
Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp (Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst
prominent contemporary building in Antwerp's Zuid (South) district, MUHKA opened
The museum - a converted warehouse - promotes Belgian and international
artists, exhibiting works of art dating from 1970.
It is renowned for its avant-garde exhibitions.
info at MUHKA official website...
Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp (Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerpen)
and built in the late nineteenth century as a central museum for the newly developed
area in the South (Zuid) of Antwerp.
The museum's vast collection of
paintings dating from the 14th Century includes works by Rubens, Van Dyck, van
der Weyden and Jordaens. The collection of Ruben's work is extensive. You will
also find paintings by Bruegel and Rembrandt.
info at the official website...
Momu - Mode Museum, Antwerp|
has enjoyed three decades of high interest as a world leader in progressive fashion.
The MoMu Fashion Museum is housed in the impressive Mode Natie - a huge 19th century
corporate building innovatively converted by architect Marie-Jose Van Hee to form
a contemporary centre for Antwerp's creative fashion industry. Also housed in
the Mode Natie are a restaurant, a bookshop and the Poytechnic of Antwerp's fashion
More info at the official
Het Steen (The Stone), Antwerp |
at the beginning of the 13th century, this castle formed the centre of medieval
Antwerp. It was rebuilt by Charles V in the early part of the 16th century and
came to be called 'Het Steen' (originally as a reference to 'The King's Stone').
Het Steen was the subject of an important painting by Peter Paul Rubens -
A View of Het Steen in the Early Morning (oil on oak - 1636) which is held at
the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London.
Now a museum dedicated
to Antwerp's shipping history, Het Steen is a major tourist attraction. Its distinctive
architectural style symbolises the city's past as a main medieval maritime port.
District and the Provinciaal Diamantmuseum (Diamond Museum), Antwerp |
about one square mile close to the Central Station, the Diamond District has,
for over 500 years, been the European centre of the diamond trading world. Today,
Antwerp handles more than 80 per cent of the world's trade in rough diamonds.
The diamond district buys, sells, cuts, polishes, sets and markets diamonds.
The world's largest Diamond Museum providing visitors with 'image and sound'
tours in various languages.
The treasure chambers display jewellery collections
dating from the 16th Century. One of the main attractions is a replica of the
British Crown Jewels.
extremely popular museum was opened to the public in 1946. A contemporary glass
pavilion style entrance (designed by Stephane Beel) was added in 1999.
Peter Paul Rubens acquired the Flemish-style house in 1610 and extended the building
to include a grand baroque-style studio and a courtyard garden with Italianate
planting and sculptures.
Rubens was born in 1577 in Siegen, Germany.
As a teenager, he served as a page for a Flemish princess and studied painting
under a number of influential masters, being made master in the Antwerp Guild
of St Luke in 1598.
travelled to Venice and Rome, becoming influenced by the new ideas of Titian,
Michelangelo and Raphael. In 1603 he visited Spain, working as a diplomat and
also as an artist.
He continued an extremely successful career, creating
numerous works on religious, portrait and landscape themes. The massively grand
scale of many of these works required the input of many apprentices, perhaps the
most renowned being Anthony Van Dyck.
Rubens died in 1640 and is buried
at Saint Jacob's Church, Antwerp.
info at the Rubenshuis official website...
Museum, Antwerp -
Plantijn moved from his native France to Antwerp in the late 1540's - opening
a book binding and leather-working service. Within a few years, he had realised
his ambition of running a printing works and by the late 1560's his publishing
business, the 'Golden Compass' had become the most important printing press in
The Plantin-Moretus Museum is situated on the Vrijdagmarkt
in the centre of the city; the architectural style is patrician with stunning
courtyard gardens. It now houses 25,000 volumes dating from the earliest era in
printing. Exhibits include workrooms with printing presses, the type-foundry,
the printing office, the proof reading room and the bookshop.
info on Plantin Moretus...
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