The "Brabo Fountain" is the landmark of Antwerp. After the legend, the Roman soldier "Silvio Brabo" defeated the giant "Druon Antigoon". The giant demanded a toll from all travelers to pass the bridge over the river. Whoever dared not to pay, the giant cut his hand off and threw it into the river. Brabo defeated the giant and threw his hand into the river. The name "Antwerp" is not derived from hand throwing, as the legend claims.
The widely visible cathedral is called "Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal" (Church of Our loved Lady). The tower of the Late Gothic building is 123 m high and is listed as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. The construction of the cathedral was begun in 1352 and completed in 1521, as the largest church in the Netherlands. However, the southern tower has never been completed. The 7-aisle cathedral is 118 m long and 67 m wide at the transept.
The "Grote Markt" is the main square of Antwerp. Here stands the "Brabo fountain" and the town hall. On the northern edge of the square stand the magnificent guild houses. On the house of the Crossbow-Guild you can see "Saint George" killing a dragon.
The "Vleeshuis" (Meat House) was built by the Butchers Guild, which had the monopoly on meat products in Antwerp by then. The house of the builder Herman de Waghemakere was completed in 1504. The bricks of bright and red stones were stacked in layers. This creates a flesh-colored appearance reminiscent of ham. The late-Gothic building houses nowadays a collection of musical instruments.
The central station of Antwerp is one of the most beautiful stations in the world. The ecclesiastical railway cathedral of Louis de la Censerie, with its 75-meter-high dome, refers to the Pantheon in Rome. The head station from 1905 received a tunnel in 2007 with additional tracks for high speed trains.
The "Het Steen" castle on the right bank of the Scheldt is the oldest building in Antwerp. It was part of the 12th century fortification. In the 16th century, the castle was expanded into a residence. In front of the castle stands the statue of the "Lange Wapper". A legendary giant who, thanks to an old woman, was given the gift to enlarge his body. Later he became a water spirit.
The KBC Tower was built in 1932 for the Kredietbank, which mainly financed farmers, so the official name of "Torengebouw van Antwerpen" quickly became "Boerentoren" (Farmers Tower). With a hight of 87.5 m, the KBC Tower was the tallest office building in continental Europe at that time. The number 1 in Europe was the Royal Liver Building with 98 meters in Liverpool. The "Torengebouw van Antwerpen" was built for the 1930 colonial exhibition, which does not count as a World's Fair. The architects of the Art Deco Tower were Jan Van Hoenacker, Emiel van Averbeke and Jos Smolderen. In 1976, the building was raised by about 8 m and grew to 95.8 m. With antenna the Boerentoren is 112.5 m tall. The skyscraper has 29 floors and is surpassed in Antwerp only by the 123 m high cathedral.
Antwerp was for a long time the most important trading place for diamonds. There are several diamond exchanges, a diamond museum and a jewish diamond district. In Antwerp, around 25,000 people work in the diamond trade. The streets Vestingstraat and Pelikaanstraat have the most jewelers. At Visit Antwerp you can book guided tours of the Diamond Quarter.
The main shopping street of Antwerp is called Meir. On the wide pedestrian street are the big department stores and a Royal Palace called "Paleis op de Meir". You should definitely take a look in the interesting shopping center "Stadfeestzaal", here you will see fine products under a magnificent, gold-decorated hall.
Welcome to Antwerpen
Antwerp is the second largest city in Belgium with around 520,000 inhabitants. In the Middle Ages, Antwerp was one of the largest cities in Europe and the most important port of Central Europe. Today the port of Antwerp is the second biggest in Europe. Antwerp is still the world's largest trading center for diamonds. Around 25,000 people work in the diamond trade.