History of Antwerp


100 nC

A small settlement was built in the Roman Empire on what is now Antwerp.


Antwerp is mentioned for the first time in a document.


Antwerp is devastated by the Normans.


After the Treaty of Verdun, Antwerp belongs to Lothar I.


After the division of the Duchy of Lorraine, Antwerp belonged to Lower Lorraine, which also included Cologne and Liège.


The Count of Leuven is appointed Duke of Brabant. The Duchy of Brabant is roughly the region in the south of Holland between the rivrs Rhine and Meuse until the city of Namur what is now Belgium. The capital of Brabant was Leuven.


Antwerp receives the city rights. Because of the port, the city developed into a trading center of the Middle Ages.


Brabant falls to Burgundy through inheritance. At that time, the Grand Duchy of Burgundy also included Flanders, Holland and Luxembourg.


Brabant falls to the Habsburgs.


Charles V becomes duke of the Burgundian Netherlands, at the same time he is king of Spain.


Philip II King of Spain, inherits the Spanish Netherlands. The Reformation prevailed in Antwerp and the Spanish Netherlands. Antwerp is one of the largest and richest cities in Europe. The silting up of the Zwin separates Bruges from the sea. Antwerp benefits from the decline of the competition.


Philip II deployed his army to fight the renegade Netherlands. However, the Spanish king was broke and could not pay his troops. The soldiers mutiny and moved to Antwerp to pillage the rich city. The Spanish governor tried to prevent the worst, but was powerless. The Spanish Fury ravaged in Antwerp and burned the city down. In the same year the northern (Protestant) and southern (Catholic) Netherlands met in Ghent to drive out the Spaniards together.


The Spanish governor Alessandro Farnese regains control of the city and banishes all Protestant citizens from the city. After the destruction by the Spanish Fury, another bloodletting begins. Rich traders and artisans leave the city. Many move to the Republic of the Seven United Provinces also known as the United Netherlands. Rotterdam in particular benefits from the refugees from Antwerp.


The Peace of Westphalia stipulates that the Scheldt may no longer be used as a shipping route. The Dutch had blocked the Scheldt with their fleet since 1585. The Spaniards were broke and could no longer wage war; they had to swallow this dictation from the Dutch. As a port city on the Scheldt, this condition was catastrophic for Antwerp. The Dutch port cities developed splendidly and founded colonies all over the world. Amsterdam left Antwerp behind and became a global player.


Antwerp falls to Austria after the War of the Spanish Succession.


Napoleon conquers Antwerp.


Napoleon was defeated in Waterloo. After the Vienna Congress, Antwerp became part of the Kingdom of the United Netherlands. This country roughly comprised the area of ​​what is now the Netherlands and Belgium.


The Belgian Revolution leads to the division of the United Netherlands. The differences between Belgium and the Netherlands were too big. Different religions, different languages ​​and insufficient political participation of the southern parts of the country finally led to the revolution. The Belgians received military support from the France.


Antwerp is conquered by the Dutch.


France recaptures Antwerp for the Belgians.


Belgium's independence is recognized internationally. The port of Antwerp is flourishing again. Antwerp becomes the seaport of all of Belgium.


At the Africa Conference, the Europeans divided the continent among themselves. Belgium was awarded with the Congo. Since King Leopold II had secured all shares in the Congo society, he was the sole owner of the Congo. Antwerp will be the port through which all business with the African colony is handled. Diamonds, ivory and other colonial goods flood the warehouses of the city. In return, arms are being exported to suppress the Africans. About 8 million Africans die under the hard hand of Leopold II.


The first electric tram runs in Antwerp.


Germany conquered Antwerp in the First World War and occupied the city until the end of the war in 1918.


The Summer Olympics take place in Antwerp.


Nazi Germany conquered Western Europe. Antwerp is occupied by the Germans. The Jewish population is deported. Only a few survive the Holocaust.


The Allies bomb Antwerp. British and American air strikes kill around 2,000 people.


The Allies liberate Antwerp. After the conquest, Antwerp became the most important supply port for the Allies. The Germans shot V2 rockets on Antwerp. It is estimated that around 5,000 people were killed by rocket attacks.


Antwerp was partially destroyed after the war, but the city center survived the war relatively well. Many historical buildings have been preserved.


The first tram tunnel is opened. These tunnels were to be expanded into a metro network. However, this plan was not pursued further.


Around 470,000 people live in Antwerp.


The population of Antwerp drops to 445,000.
2021The population increases to around 530,000 residents.




Antwerp History