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Antwerpen is the pleasant "City on the Scheldt". The port city with its international trade links is also the world centre for diamond processing. Culturally, Antwerpen has much to offer, particularly as the home base of painter Pieter Paul Rubens.

Scenic View
Author: DVT Antwerpen Copyright © Toerisme Vlaanderen

Grote Markt

The heart of the City on the Scheldt beats at the Grote Markt, an irregularly-shaped square, surrounded by decorative guild houses dating from the 16th and 17th century. This square is home to the statue of Brabo. According to a 16th century legend his action (throwing a hand, or in Dutch "Hand werpen") led to the city being given its name. The 15th century City Hall is a successful blend of the Flemish style and Italian Renaissance characteristics.


Antwerpen's most famous son is undoubtedly Pieter Paul Rubens. The painter and diplomat is present in many places in the city. His statue is in the Groenplaats. You can see his work in many churches and museums. The Ruben House on the Wapper, where the painter lived and worked, still exudes the grandeur of the height of the Antwerpen Baroque. In this museum, thanks to the furniture, objets d'art and works from the master's private collection, you can relive Rubens' time. In the decorative restored Rockoxhuis, Rubens has a substantial presence, together with Jordaens, Matsys and Van Dyck.

Museums Galore

Antwerpen is also a paradise for museum lovers. The Fine Arts Museum in the Zuid houses over a thousand works by the older painters, including the Flemish Primitives. In addition, you can enjoy over 1 500 more recent works. Naturally, this is where you will find the world's most beautiful and largest collection of the work of Antwerpen's great master Rubens. The Museum for Contemporary Art, shown as MUHKA for short, has a collection of mainly Belgian art from the nineteen-seventies.

Author: D. de Kievith Copyright © Toerisme Vlaanderen

The National Maritime Museum is housed in the Steen, the oldest building in Antwerpen. An impressive range of ship's models and an open-air department with real ships make this museum one of the most fascinating in the city.

Mayer van den Bergh Museum is dedicated to fine and applied arts, particularly from the 14th to the 16th century. Besides pictures and sculptures, you will find a unique collection of tapestries and furniture.


The Provincial Diamond Museum lies in the heart of the Diamond District, the streets behind the Central Station. This part of the city is known as the "Jerusalem of the North", because Antwerpen is the largest settlement of Orthodox Jews in this part of Europe. In the Diamond Museum, you can learn about every facet of diamonds, which have made Antwerpen the world centre of diamond cutting and trading.


In the completely-restored Bourlaschouwburg, you can enjoy the theatre, as well as a "bolleke", the local special beer, in the decorative surroundings of the theatre foyer.

Central Station

When you arrive in Antwerpen by train, you alight in one of the most impressive buildings in the city. The Central Station certainly lives up to its nickname of the "Railway Cathedral".


When you leave the Central station, then you can start walking along the "Golden Mile". This walk, via the Meir to the Groenplaats, will take you not only past many sights, but also through the city's main shopping district. You can find everything here. But the boutiques with Belgian fashions are particularly worth a visit.

You can also sample "Antwerpense handjes", sweet biscuits and a typical Antwerpen delicacy.

One tip for shoppers is the annual Rubens Market on 15 August. On that public holiday, the market traders sell their wares in the Grote Markt attired in traditional Rubens-style clothing. Click here for more information about Antwerpen events.

Art Nouveau

The Zurenborg district near Berchem station has a unique architectural complex. Nowhere else in Europe will you find a more decorative collection of Art Nouveau and Jugendstil houses. De Cogels-Osylei is the largest street in this district. No less than 170 premises are protected as monuments.


Antwerpen also has a wealth of churches. The Cathedral of Our Lady near the Grote Markt is the largest and tallest Gothic church in the Low Countries. In the seven aisles, there are a number of famous masterpieces by Rubens. But also the leaded glass windows, the memorial stones and the sculpture make a visit well worth the effort.

Saint Paul's Church in the working-class district in the North of the city also has a remarkable collection of paintings, not just be Rubens, but also by Jordaens and Van Dyck.

The Saint Charles Borromeus Church in the Hendrik Conscienceplein is a jewel of Baroque church architecture, with its outstanding fašade.

Rubens lies buried in Saint Jacob's Church, in the street of the same name. It goes without saying that this place of worship also has an impressive treasury of Baroque sculptures and paintings.

The Steen
Author: Weichselbaum Copyright © Toerisme Vlaanderen


Antwerpen is a place where you are unlikely to die of hunger or thirst. There are countless cafes and the many restaurants often stay open very late. The choice is overwhelming: from extremely sophisticated gastronomy, exotic cuisine from all around the world, to simple but tasty meals for every pocket. Particularly around the Grote Markt and near the Station there is something for everybody. You can eat, drink, dance, visit a cabaret or revue, take in a film or enjoy a show.

Animals in the city

The world-famous Antwerpen Zoo is close to the Central Station. The zoo is characterised by the colourful animal pavilions. Particularly attractive animal houses are the aquaria, reptile house, outdoor enclosure for elephants and the Nocturama for nocturnal animals.

City on the river

Antwerpen is not just a city of monuments, it is also the city on the Schelde. A river cruise is definitely not to be missed, not just to admire the famous skyline with its antique towers from the water, but also to experience the busy world port from the inside. Those who don't like boats can still enjoy the Scheldt from the unique promenade near the Steen.

Information is Copyright © Toerisme Vlaanderen


Festivals & Events

Jan Van Eyck and the Mediterranean World
24 March - June

The first exhibition dedicated to early Netherlandisch painting and its influence on the Southern European art scene of its days looks at works commissioned from Jan Van Eyck and other Flemish Primitives working abroad. Major works from all over Europe will be brought together in one of the finest museums in Bruges.

Brussel jubel park
Author: d. de Kievith
© Toerisme Vlaanderen

The Brueghel Enterprise
22. March - 23. June 2002

The exhibition will bring together about forty paintings by this artist who is well-known for having made an abundant number of copies after the works by his father Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The exhibition aims to juxtapose different versions of the same composition and to study and analyse them with state-of-the-art laboratory techniques. It will be the first time ever that such an important number of versions is gathered. The exhibition is designed around four themes, each of them centred on a reference work: Census in Bethlehem, Winter Landscape with Bird Trap, The Adoration of the Magi in the Snow and The Farmer’s Advocate.

Brugge lace-maker
Author: d. de Kievith
© Toerisme Vlaanderen

Adriaan Brouwer Beer Festival

Yearly festival on the market square of the beautiful town of Oudenaarde.
Tel: (32-55) 31-7251

Brussel Grand Place
Author: d. de Kievith
© Toerisme Vlaanderen

Jazz Brugge 2002
August - 15-18

De Werf's European Jazz Festival is to be held alternating with the Middelheim festival, i.e. every second year. Its venue will be the newly built, for the Brugge 2002 festivities, concert centre, a modern building with the largest stage in Belgium and capacity of 1400 seats. Its emphasis will be on European jazz and artists. There will be 3 to 4 groups per day, concerts starting around 15h and ending at 23h.

Brugge scenic view
Author: d. de. Kievith
© Toerisme Vlaanderen

Diamon Museum - Antwerp

Where the entire process of diamond mining and processing can be viewed.. Antwerp is the very centre of the world's diamond industry. More than 70% of the world's diamonds are cut, polished and traded here.

Brussel procession
Author: A. Koprianov
© Toerisme Vlaanderen

The Royal Greenhouses
April 19 - May 5

The Royal Greenhouses in Laeken cover six acres of neo-classical rotundas, domes and galleries. Twenty full time gardeners tend the giant ferns, fruit-bearing banana trees, grottoes, glades and grassy vistas. Highlights include the Azalea House, the rotunda, a colony of birds and the orange trees. Walkways are filled with climbing geraniums and fuschias, whose blossoms form an overhead canopy. The visit ends with a short walk through the Royal Park.

Brussel Grand'Place flowers
Author: J. J. Soenen
© Toerisme Vlaanderen

The Abbey of Villers-la-Ville
The Cistercian Abbey dates back to the 12th century. In the 19th century, a large number of artists, painters and writers, such as Victor Hugo, were attracted by the beauty of the majestic ruins, which are still sometimes used as a dramatic setting for French drama and classical concerts.

Oostende Mercator
Author: d. de Kievith
© Toerisme Vlaanderen
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