Antwerp landmarks

Antwerp landmarks

Antwerp is a port city in the Flanders region of Belgium. Antwerp was granted city rights and the associated privileges in 1291. As a result, the city developed into a prosperous community. In the 15th and 16th centuries Antwerp was one of the largest cities in the world. - Times are changing: today almost 530.000 people live in the urban area. The population of the Antwerp metropolitan area "Vlaamse Ruit" (Flemish diamond) is estimated at approximately five million people.

Suikerrui with the Museum van Mieghem

Suikerrui with the Museum van Mieghem

The buildings that were built in the 15th and 16th centuries still shape the cityscape today. The historic city center was preserved despite heavy Allied air raids during the Second World War. In the city center, architectural styles of the late Middle Ages, Renaissance and Baroque merge with those of the modern era. What is very pleasant: Visitors to the city will find the main sights of Antwerp close to each other.

Antwerp - remarkable gables in the Kaasstraat

Antwerp - remarkable gables in the Kaasstraat

Two churches worth seeing

In the heart of Antwerp, five towering historic churches embody an inestimable cultural heritage. The houses of worship are rich in religious works of art that were specially created for these churches centuries ago. We are particularly impressed by the Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady and St. Jacob's Church.

Cathedral Onze Lieve Vrouwe

Cathedral Onze Lieve Vrouwe

Onze Lieve Vrouwe Cathedral (Cathedral of Our Lady)

The Gothic cathedral, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, was completed in 1521 after 169 years of construction. In 1559 it was elevated to the position of Episcopal Church of the Antwerp diocese. A central nave and six side aisles shape the image of this magnificent and huge church. Its filigree tower rises 123 meters high. Four paintings by the world-famous Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens hang in the Cathedral of Our Lady.

Cathedral of Our Lady - main altar with picture of Rubens
Cathedral of Our Lady - almost an art museum
Cathedral of Our Lady - beautiful stained glass windows
Cathedral of Our Lady - St. Joseph's Chapel

Address: Handschoenmarkt 3
Opening times: 10:00 am to 17:00 pm on working days, 13:00 pm to 16:00 pm on Sundays
Adults pay 6,00 euros entry.

Sint Jacobskerk

The Roman Catholic Church is the burial place of Peter Paul Rubens. The late Gothic church is 300 meters from the Rubens House. It has 23 marble altars and a large art collection. Painters such as Jordaens, Rubens and Van Balen are represented. Some time ago, magnificent wall paintings from the 16th century were discovered. The Sint Jacobskerk is the Antwerp starting point for pilgrimages in Spanish Santiago de Compostela.

Sint Jacobskerk

Sint Jacobskerk

Address: Lange Nieuwestraat 73 A
Opening times: 14:00pm to 5:00pm every day
Adults pay 3,00 euros entry.

Secular buildings worth seeing

Antwerp's city center breathes history in many places. Centuries-old buildings or the glamorous Grote Markt bear witness to the city's dominant position worldwide in the 15th and 16th centuries. The following stand out from the abundance of buildings.

Town hall

With its 67 meter wide facade, Antwerp's Stadhuis is an exquisite example of the Brabant Renaissance. The facade is admirable, and the inside of the building has beautiful halls and many works of art. Its builders are apparently based on government buildings in Central and Northern Europe. The town hall has been in use since 1560 and the building is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Antwerp City Hall

Antwerp City Hall

Address: Grote Markt 1

Brabo fountain

On the Grote Markt in front of the town hall, the Brabo fountain, unveiled in 1887, commemorates the city legend Silvus Brabo. She reports: The young hero defeated the giant Druon Antigon in battle and cut off his hand. The giant had the unpleasant habit of demanding tolls from Scheldt sailors. He cut off the right hand of the boatmen who couldn't pay and threw them into the river. The fountain shows Brabo throwing the giant's hand towards the Scheldt with a sweeping gesture.

Statue of Brabo

Statue of Brabo


The neoclassical building dates from 1908. It was first used as an exhibition, stock exchange and event palace. In 2000 the building fell victim to a major fire. Then it was rebuilt with the old facade. It has served as a classy shopping center since 2007.

The Meir pedestrian street with the Stadsfeestzaal

The Meir pedestrian street with the Stadsfeestzaal

Address: Meir Shopping Street, one of the main shopping streets in the city.


The current residential area Begijnhof is based on the original community of the Beguines. They were devout women who lived in religious communities without having taken a monastery vow. Visitors come across a similar facility in Bruges or Amsterdam. The first Antwerp beguinage was established in the 13th century. Nowadays the residential area presents itself with small houses, lawns, fruit trees and contemplative cobblestone paths.

Rodestraat 39

Het Steen

Het Steen is the oldest preserved building in the city. A first castle was built in the 9th century. Antwerp was protected by a city wall between the 12th and 13th centuries. Het Steen was one of three gate buildings set into the wall. A fundamental renovation was carried out at the beginning of the 16th century. The building has been a museum since 1862.

Het Steen - Antwerp's oldest building

Het Steen - Antwerp's oldest building

Address: On Steenplein

Central Station

Antwerp Central Station is hailed as one of the most beautiful train stations in Europe.

Museums worth seeing

Antwerp's tourist office lists 24 museums on its website. The Rubens Museum, the MAS l Museum aan de Stroom or the KMSKA Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten are crowd pullers.

Rubens House

The museum introduces the baroque artist as a painter, architect, diplomat, collector and scholar. The highlights of the exhibition are the Kunstkammer, the inner courtyard and the large studio with a self-portrait of the artist.

The Rubenshuis

The Rubenshuis

Address: Wapper 9-11
Opening times: Daily - except Monday - 10:00am to 5:00pm
Entrance price: 8 euros (discounts are granted for special requirements)

MAS "Museum aan de Stroom"

The museum brings together the collections of the Ethnographic Museum, the National Maritime Museum, the Folklore Museum and parts of the Vleeshuis Museum. The museum, made of red sandstone, convinces the viewer with its futuristic architecture. The free, glazed panorama roof on the tenth floor offers an impressive view of the city, the harbor and the Scheldt.

Please note: Visitors are free to come and go in the MAS. Tickets are only required to visit the museum halls.

Address: Hanzestedenplaats 1
Opening times: Daily - except Monday - 10:00am to 5:00pm
Entrance price: 10 euros (discounts are granted for special requirements)

Plantin-Moretus Museum

The museum, richly equipped with tapestries, gold leather, paintings and sculptures, has an original printing press from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. It has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2005.

Address: Vrijdagmarkt 22
Opening times: Daily - except Monday - 10:00am to 5:00pm
Entrance price: 8 euros (discounts are granted for special requirements)

KMSKA Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten

The Royal Museum of Fine Arts exhibits paintings primarily from the 16th and 17th centuries. Famous artists from the following periods including the 20th century are also represented.

Address: Leopold De Waelplaats
The KMSKA is closed until the end of 2018 due to renovation and conversion work.

Places of interest & districts

Grote Markt

The central square in the heart of the old town offers the town hall adequate space on one side. Opposite it are magnificent guild houses. They are De Oude Waag, the house of drapers, the house of tanners and the house of coppersmiths called De Mouwe. Most of the buildings were rebuilt after being destroyed in the 16th century.

Antwerp's center - in front of the Grote Markt
Facade on the Grote Markt
Grote Markt - looking towards Kaasrui
Fountain at the Grote Markt

The diamond district

Antwerp's diamond district is close to Centraal Station. It is part of the Jewish quarter.

Update October 2020