Antwerp Journals

Antwerp, not just a diamond city

A May 2002 trip to Antwerp by Adelaide

Stadhuis Photo, Antwerp, Belgium More Photos
Quote: Antwerp is the the world's most important diamond trading center, but long before that, in 15th and 16th centuries, it was one of Europe's most important comercial and financial centers. All this wealth was preserved in its architectural, religious and histroical landmarks.

Antwerp, not just a diamond city

Overview

Stadhuis Photo, Antwerp, Belgium
Quote:
Most of the city's attractions lie within footwalk from the Grote Markt (Great Market), which was the center of the old section of Antwerp. The town hall is in this square, while the cathedral and other churches are a few minutes walk away. Rumble along the old center's narrow streets and experience a travel through time - you will feel like as if you are in the Middle Ages!Quick Tips: Antwerp's Zoo is one of the oldest in the world, so it's a good option if you are travelling with kids. Even if you don't, there is a lot to see - unfortunately I didn't have time!Best Way To Get Around: Walking, definitely. From Grote Markt, where you will find the town hall, the cathedral is a fe...Read More

Antwerpen - Op Sinjoorke

Hotel | "Op Sinjoorke"

Quote:
I was quite disappointed with the hostel. It's not easy to get there: despite good transportation, you won't find almost any signs to guide you. The hostel is a bit old and its facilities lack modernization. I couldn't get hot water in the shower. Despite its beautiful setting in a park, it's noisy due to the highway next to it. Still, it's a choice if you're on a tight budget.

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on June 29, 2002

Antwerpen - Op Sinjoorke
Eric Sasselaan 2
Antwerp, Belgium 2020
(03) 238-0273

Stadhuis

Attraction | "Stadhuis (town hall)"

Stadhuis Photo, Antwerp, Belgium
Quote:
The Stadhuis (town hall), located at Grote Markt was built in early 16th century in an Italian-Flemish renaissance style. In 1576, during the Spanish Fury, the mutinous Spanish soldiers set light to the building, but by 1579 it had been rebuilt. Originally the City Hall had an open inner courtyard. It was covered when the building underwent thorough renovation in the 19th century. The present-day interior, with its many painted wall panels, dates largely from that period. In front of the Town Hall there is the statue of Brabo, the city hero. According to legend, the giant Antigoon used to collect a toll from those entering the port of Antwerp and would cut off the hand of those w...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 29, 2002

Stadhuis
Grote Markt
Antwerp, Belgium 2000
+32 3 221 13 33

Grote Markt

Attraction | "The guild buildings at the Great Market Square"

Grote Markt Photo, Antwerp, Belgium
Quote:
The Grote Markt (Great Market) was the center of the old section of Antwerp. Most of its buildings are from the 15th and 16th centuries, a wealthy period when Antwerp was one of Europe's most important comercial and financial centers. These buildings - some of which reconstructed in the 19th century - of Flemish-style façades of stepped gables are decorated with gold-gilded statues. They belonged to the corporations (guilds) of that time, who wanted to show off their power through their fine buildings.
The Town Hall is also located at the Great Market - check the specific entry about it.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 29, 2002

Grote Markt

Antwerp, Belgium 2000

Onze Lieve Vrouw Kathedraal

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Cathedral of Our Lady"

Onze Lieve Vrouw Kathedraal Photo, Antwerp, Belgium
Quote:
The imposing Cathedral of Our Lady (Onze-Lieve-Vrouweziekenhuis), with its high ceilings and beautiful stained-glass windows, is the largest church in Belgium (it is 119 metres long, with a roof measuring more than one hectare and 128 windows). Its history began in 1124, when an old chapel on this site became the parish church, which resulted in a substantial new building in Romanesque style, whose remains can be seen underground. In 1352 work began to replace that church with the present-day Gothic church, but it took 170 years before it looked as it does today. Its tower is over 120m tall and a second one was planned but never built. The church itself was planned to be three times big...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 29, 2002

Onze Lieve Vrouw Kathedraal
Handschoenmarkt
Antwerp, Belgium 2000
+32 3 213 99 40

St. Pauluskerk

Attraction | "Saint Paul's Church"

St. Pauluskerk Photo, Antwerp, Belgium
Quote:
Saint Paul's Church (Sint-Pauluskerk) is a magnificent Baroque church with beautiful wood carvings, altars and paintings, including some by Rubens, Van Dyck and Jordaens.

The first small church here was dedicated in 1276, but the Baroque church was built during the 16th century. In 1968, a disastrous fire destroyed the whole complex and a new roof was only put 20 years later.

The organ is considered to be one of the top ten historical organs in Europe. Sculptures abound, but my favourite were the wood carvings. Outside there is a lovely sculpture garden.

Visiting hours: 1st May - 30th Sept., Mon.-Sun., 14-17 h

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 29, 2002

St. Pauluskerk
Veemarkt
Antwerp, Belgium 2000
+ 32 3 232 32 67

Rubenshuis

Attraction

Rubenshuis Photo, Antwerp, Belgium
Quote:
The famous painter Pieter Paul Rubens was born in Germany, but his parents were from Antwerp and he lived there is his youth before going to study and work in Italy. When he returned, he became the court's favourite painter. He designed and built his house, now a museum honoring the master, showing his works as well as his own art collection. The palazzo has a sober façade, but inside you find gorgeous courtyards and gardens.
Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00. Closed on Mondays and some holidays.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 29, 2002

Rubenshuis
Wapper 9-11
Antwerp, Belgium 2000
+ 32 3 201 15 77

De Steen

Attraction

De Steen Photo, Antwerp, Belgium
Quote:
De Steen, which means "The stone", located by Scheldt River, is one of Europe's oldest fortresses. Originally built in the 10th century, rebuilt extended throughout the centuries, it was one of the first buildings built in stone, thus its name. Now it houses the National Maritime Museum.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on June 29, 2002

De Steen
Steenplein 1
Antwerp, Belgium

Zoo

Attraction | "Zoo Antwerpen"

Quote:
I haven't been there myself, but I saw it when I left the Central Station. The Antwerp Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the world - almost 200 years old - and houses over 4000 animals, many of which were brought from Congo, Belgium's former colony in Africa. The giraffes live in an Egyptian Temple! Guided tours are provided and there are open-air concerts on the grounds during summer.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 29, 2002

Zoo

Antwerp, Belgium

Pieter Paul Rubens

Story/Tip

Quote:
Rubens was born in Siegen, Westphalia in 1577. His parents were from Antwerp and the family returned to it in 1589, and soon after he became an apprentice with some of Anrwerp's painters. In 1590 he started his own studio, before moving to Mantova, in Italy, in 1600, where he became the court painter of Vincenzo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantova. When his mother died in 1608, Rubens returned to Antwerp and in the following year he was appointed painter at the court of the Archduke Albrecht and the infanta Isabella. In 1610, Rubens acquired a house with grounds at the Wapper, where he later built his palazzo - nowadays the Rubenshuis museum. His production was frantic in the following years, as ...Read More
Quote:
Antwerp nowadays is the world's most important diamond trading center. The diamond district of the city starts right next to the Central Station and many members of Antwerp's large Jewish community live in this area. This is where about 60% of the world's production of rough and cut stones and industrial diamonds are traded, observing ancient traditions based on unconditional trust between dealers. The Diamond Museum, located at Kon. Astridplein 19-23, shows how diamonds are produced from mining to cutting and also displays some beautiful diamonds. It was closed for modernization during my stay, but was to be reopened in May 2002, becoming a multimedia museum, showing all the facets of the use of...Read More