Antwerp

Antwerp


Antwerp – Belgium's and Europe's largest port

The Belgian port city of Antwerp is located in the north of the country in the province of Flanders, which borders the Netherlands. Almost 531.000 people live in Belgium's second largest city in 2022.

Antwerp - Panorama

Antwerp - Panorama


Antwerp's extensive port area lies on the banks of the river Scheldt. Ships travel more than 80 kilometers from the center of Antwerp to the mouth of the Scheldt in the North Sea. On the way to the North Sea, ships temporarily pass through Dutch territory.

On the way on the Schelde - port facilities and nuclear power plant Doel

On the way on the Schelde - port facilities and nuclear power plant Doel


Antwerp's economy - a little bit of everything

Historical finds show that Antwerp was once a Roman settlement. Antwerp was granted city rights in 1291. From the 14th century the city developed into one of the leading trading centers in Europe. In addition, it was one of the largest cities in the world in the 15th and 16th centuries. Thanks to its port and the flourishing drapery trade, it was one of the most important and wealthiest European economic metropolises. It has remained so to this day. The port companies, huge refineries, petro-chemical plants, industry and commerce make the city a heavyweight in the region.

Antwerp - port


Antwerp - port


Antwerp - petro-chemical plants


Antwerp - petro-chemical plants 


And another phenomenon needs to be mentioned: Antwerp is traditionally the world's most important trading center for diamonds. Four diamond exchanges and around 1.600 companies deal with the valuable stones locally.

Antwerp center - Beurs voor Diamanthandel

Antwerp center - Beurs voor Diamanthandel


Antwerp's cultural landscape

Economic success and wealth favored the construction of magnificent churches and secular buildings in the past and present. Patrons supported famous painters such as Peter Paul Rubens, Anthonis van Dyck and Jan Brueghel. They lived and worked in Antwerp. The city is a university location, the seat of an important regional opera house and several world-famous museums.

Groenplaats with Antwerp's Cathedral
Castle complex Het Steen
Rubens House
Museum aan de Strom and Loodsgebouw

Antwerp's historic city center

During the Second World War, Antwerp, which was occupied by German troops, was heavily fought over. Several Allied air raids and German retaliatory strikes claimed thousands of civilian lives. Despite the severe effects of the war, Antwerp has preserved its historic city center well, to the delight of visitors. In the pre-Corona year 2019, the city recorded almost 3,5 million overnight stays.

Antwerp - A cruise destination

Ocean and river cruise ships regularly visit Antwerp. Every year, hundreds of river boats frequent the designated berths in the river. The number of ocean-going vessels in 2019 was more than thirty. Deep-sea cruise ships dock at the terminal at Burg Het Steen below the historic old town. Ships up to 265 meters in length have their berths on the neighboring Zuiderterras. Ships longer than 265 meters dock in the industrial port. A shuttle bus service provides transport to Het Steen Castle in around 15 minutes.

Cruise ship berth


Cruise ship berth


Het Steen - berth for cruise ships


Het Steen - berth for cruise ships 


The mooring in front of Het Steen is a few hundred steps from the Grote Markt with the town hall or the cathedral. 

Under Antwerp Sights we describe the most important attractions of the city from our point of view. Under Discover Antwerp on your own we provide tips for our tour of Belgium's second largest city.

Update July 2022

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