Antwerp Journals

A Day with Rubens in Antwerp

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A December 2002 trip to Antwerp by kjlouden

Discount Shopping Photo, Antwerp, Belgium More Photos
Quote: Artists and architects thriving in Antwerp in the 15th and 16th centuries introduced the splendid style of the Italian Renaissance for public buildings. Our visit to Rubenshuis, Grote Markt, and the gothic Notre Dame enabled us to envision the flowering of the Renaissance Flemish style.

A Day with Rubens in Antwerp

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Overview

Central Station Photo, Antwerp, Belgium
Quote:
Antwerp's heyday as a center for trade occurred later than that of Bruges, so this Flemish city sports the look of the Renaissance and of a major European metropolis with variety, even contrast. Stepping off the train from Brussels, we were impressed with the glass-dome-covered platform and elaborate architecture of the stone Central Station, the greatest rail building in Belgium. Inside, the grand concourse was worth a few photos. The old city center is straight ahead about 1 mile. We walked the street lined with fine department stores, antique government buildings, busy eateries, and even discount shops. Halfway to Grote Markt (1/2 mile), a left on Wapper took us to RubensHuis, a...Read More

Discount Shopping

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Attraction | "Discount Shopping Dutch-style: HEMA"

Discount Shopping Photo, Antwerp, Belgium
Quote:
The Dutch dime store, operating 251 units in the Netherlands and 23 in Belgium, similar to the downtown Murphy’s, Woolworth’s, or McCrory’s of small-town America in years gone by, delighted us. Located on the right about halfway down the main street that runs from the Antwerp rail station to the center square, it displays a little sign: "Koffie Bar." Just what we needed, we went in and found so much more. Inside the door, we crowded past a number of people who had checked out with huge bags--locals love this place! Everyone would! It’s the Dutch equivalent of Big Lots or Dollar General, only nicer, more orderly, with less "junk," and with an immaculate, cheery tiled cafeteria. Past inexpensive d...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 26, 2002

Discount Shopping
Main street
Antwerp, Belgium

Grote Markt

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Attraction

Grote Markt Photo, Antwerp, Belgium
Quote:
All our destinations centered around the market square, so we returned here after each tour for refreshment and review of our itinerary. The elegant, antique Hilton Antwerp and the three-story McDonald''s were great coffee stops, as well as good vantage points for photos of the lively square. At the center market, the statue of Peter Paul Rubens reminded us of the influence of one actual man, while the fountain and statue of Brabo confirmed that the unreal, too, exerted its force -- or had been replaced with the budding of humanism. In the summer, the fountain is surrounded by a carpet of flowers, but in frigid December, the cobblestone glistened with a thin layer of frozen crystals. In this mir...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 27, 2002

Grote Markt

Antwerp, Belgium 2000

Rubenshuis

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Attraction | "Rubenshuis: Italy in Flanders"

Rubenshuis Photo, Antwerp, Belgium
Quote:
The extent of Rubens’s influence on 17th-century Antwerp is difficult to grasp without the visual representation at Rubenshuis. After a tour of the master’s home, I realized that much of the city looks like it! Rubens did design and collaborate on architecture, but his home, mostly designed by him to reflect his love of everything Roman, must have generated much interest in Italian Renaissance style. The residence on Wapper is where Rubens, as diplomat and mentor of artists, received important people. The painter was rich and a man of his times, and so surrounded himself with artistic treasures attesting to the triumph of the human mind and spirit: busts of Seneca and other real persons, ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 26, 2002

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

Onze Lieve Vrouw Kathedraal

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Attraction | "Cathedral of Our Lady"

Onze Lieve Vrouw Kathedraal Photo, Antwerp, Belgium
Quote:
The Cathedral in Antwerp, largest gothic church in Belgium and the Netherlands, was begun in 1350 and took 200 years to build. The massive neo-gothic entrance, rebuilt in 1903, was a show-stopper for us with its massive detailed concentric arches. Once inside, we found a friendly English-speaking staff who collected small entrance fees and answered a few questions. In our quest for the biggest and the best, we were determined to admire the beauty of the structure and the overall effect of its decoration rather than gazing endlessly at the 4 Rubens masterpieces contained there. (We had just seen so many of these at RubensHuis, and we didn’t want them to overshadow our appreciation ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 27, 2002

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