Antwerp is a city in Belgium and the capital of Antwerp province in the Flemish Region. Antwerp is on the River Scheldt, linked to the North Sea by the river’s Westerschelde estuary. The Port of Antwerp is one of the biggest in the world, ranking second in Europe and within the top 20 globally. The city is also known for its diamond industry and trade.
The inhabitants of Antwerp are nicknamed Sinjoren after the Spanish honorific señor or French seigneur, “lord”, referring to the Spanish noblemen who ruled the city in the 17th century.
|• Mayor (list)||Bart De Wever (N-VA)|
|• Governing party/ies||N-VAsp.aOpen Vld|
|• Total||204.51 km2 (78.96 sq mi)|
|• Density||2,600/km2 (6,600/sq mi)|
|Demonym(s)||Antwerpenaar (m) Antwerpse (f) (Dutch)|
Antwerp City Hall at the Grote Markt (Main Square)16th-century Guildhouses at the Grote MarktThe Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (the Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp), here seen from the Groenplaats, is the tallest cathedral in the Low Countries and home to several triptychs by the Baroque painter Rubens. It remains the tallest building in the city.
In the 16th century, Antwerp was noted for the wealth of its citizens (“Antwerpia nummis”). The houses of these wealthy merchants and manufacturers have been preserved throughout the city.
- Antwerp Zoo opened in 1843 and is one of the oldest in the world.
- Antwerp City Hall dates from 1565, and is built primarily in Renaissance style.
- Antwerp Central Station is a railway station designed by Louis Delacenserie which was completed in 1905.
- Cathedral of Our Lady. This church was begun in the 14th century and finished in 1518. The church has four works by Rubens, viz. “The Descent from the Cross”, “The Elevation of the Cross”, “The Resurrection of Christ” and “The Assumption”.
- St. James’ Church, is more ornate than the cathedral. It contains the remains of numerous famous nobles, among them a major part of the family of Rubens.
- The Church of St. Paul has a baroque interior.
- St. Andrew’s Church
- St. Charles Borromeo Church
- Museum Vleeshuis (Butchers’ Hall) is a fine Gothic brick-built building, situated a short distance to the North-West of the Grote Markt.
- Plantin-Moretus Museum preserves the house of the printer Christoffel Plantijn and his successor Jan Moretus
- The Saint-Boniface Church is an Anglican church and headseat of the archdeanery North-West Europe.
- Boerentoren (Farmers’ Tower) or KBC Tower, a 26-storey building built in 1932, is the oldest skyscraper in Europe.
- Royal Museum of Fine Arts
- Museum Mayer van den Bergh, with works from the Gothic and Renaissance period in the Netherlands and Belgium, including paintings by Pieter Brueghel the Elder.
- Rockox House is the former 17th-century Residence of Nicolaas II Rockox, Mayor of Antwerp.
- Bourse of Antwerp. Originally built 1531; extensively restored 1872; now Antwerp Trade Fair.
- Palace of Justice, designed by the Richard Rogers Partnership, Arup and VK Studio, and opened by King Albert II, in April 2006.
- Zurenborg, a late-19th-century Belle Époque neighbourhood, on the border of Antwerp and Berchem, with many Art Nouveau architectural elements.
- Museum aan de Stroom
- Den Botaniek or Antwerp’s Botanical Garden, created in 1825. Located in the city centre, at the Leopoldstraat, it covers an area of almost 1 hectare.
- Harmonium Art museuM, a museum on pump organs in Klein-Willebroek
- Museum of Contemporary Art (M HKA)
Although Antwerp was formerly a fortified city, hardly anything remains of the former enceinte, only some remains of the city wall can be seen near the Vleeshuis museum at the corner of Bloedberg and Burchtgracht. A replica of a castle named Steen has been partly rebuilt near the Scheldt-quais in the 19th century. Antwerp’s development as a fortified city is documented between the 10th and the 20th century. The fortifications were developed in different phases:
- 10th century: fortification of the wharf with a wall and a ditch
- 12th and 13th century: canals (so called “vlieten” and “ruien”) were made
- 16th century: Spanish fortifications
- 19th century: double ring of Brialmont forts around the city, dismantling of the Spanish fortifications
- 20th century: 1960 dismantling of the inner ring of forts, decommissioning of the outer ring of forts
Antwerp had an artistic reputation in the 17th century, based on its school of painting, which included Rubens, Van Dyck, Jordaens, the Teniers and many others.
Antwerp is a rising fashion city, and has produced designers such as the Antwerp Six. The city has a cult status in the fashion world, due to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, one of the most important fashion academies in the world. It has served as the learning centre for many Belgian fashion designers. Since the 1980s, several graduates of the Belgian Royal Academy of Fine Arts have become internationally successful fashion designers in Antwerp. The city has had a huge influence on other Belgian fashion designers such as Raf Simons, Veronique Branquinho, Olivier Theyskens and Kris Van Assche.
Antwerp is famous for its local products. In August every year the Bollekesfeest takes place. The Bollekesfeest is a showcase for such local products as Bolleke, an amber beer from the De Koninck Brewery. The city’s historical ale, Seefbier, dating back to the 16th century and brewed at the Antwerpse Brouw Compagnie is a testament to the city’s long brewing history and one of Belgium’s oldest exististing beerstyles.
Cultuurmarkt van Vlaanderen is a musical festival and a touristic attraction that takes place annually on the final Sunday of August in the city center of Antwerp. Where international and local musicians and actors, present their stage and street performances.
Linkerwoofer is a pop-rock music festival located at the left bank of the Scheldt. This music festival starts in August and mostly local Belgian musicians play and perform in this event.
Other popular festivals Fire Is Gold, and focuses more on urban music, and Summerfestival.