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Visit Antwerp

Antwerp – city on the Scheldt, city of Rubens, of diamonds, of fashion, a port city... The sum of all these different aspects is what makes Antwerp into a real city: a vibrant, welcoming metropolis, which is also great fun and heart-warming, with green areas where you can relax and peaceful corners. Antwerp is a veritable cultural capital, which prides itself on its impressive architecture and splendid art. Moreover, Antwerp is a fashionista's dream destination thanks to the stores of its world-renowned designers. The cafes only serve the best beers and foodies can enjoy the most delicious traditional and multicultural cuisine in the city’s restaurants. Antwerp: a pocket-sized metropolis which is sure to conquer anyone’s heart in no time at all



Top things to do in Antwerp

Central Station (interior)

The original station building was constructed between 1895 and 1905 as a replacement for the original terminus of the Brussels-Mechelen-Antwerp Railway. The stone clad terminus buildings, with a vast dome above the waiting room hall were designed by Louis Delacenserie and the vast (185 metres long and 44 metres high) iron and glass trainshed by Clement van Bogaert. The viaduct into the station is also a notable structure designed by local architect Jan Van Asperen.The station is now widely regarded as the finest example of railway architecture in Belgium, although the extraordinary eclecticism of the influences on Delacenserie's design had led to a difficulty in assigning it to a particular architectural style. In W. G. Sebald's Austerlitz an ability to appreciate the full range of the styles that might have influenced Delacensiere is used to demonstrate the brilliance of the fictional architectural historian who is the novel's protagonist.In February 2009, the American newspaper 'Newsweek' found that the station deserved a 4th place as world's most beautiful station.

 

Cogels Osylei (exterior)

Cogels-Osylei (1881–1914) is the architectural showpiece of the Zurenborg neighbourhood in the district of Berchem. It was named after Senator John Cogels and his wife, Josephine Osy, who owned most of the land in the street. The Antwerpers used to call it 'de Meir van Zurenborg' after the majestic promenade in the centre of the city. The variety of building styles in the neighbourhood is unique in Europe. Several renowned architects, including Joseph Bascourt, Jacques de Weert and Jules Hofman designed and built these gigantic town houses. In addition to Art Nouveau or Jugendstil this street includes examples of every possible neo-style, from neo-Gothic to neo-Byzantine. And yet, somehow, this amazing architectural patchwork seems to form one whole. In the 1960s there were plans to demolish Cogels-Osylei and the neighbouring streets and replace it with an office and apartment building. Luckily these plans never came to fruit. The entire neighbourhood has been listed since 1984 as a cityscape, as have most houses. All the houses have Flemish names: Huize Zonnebloem (The Sunflower House), De Sterre (The Star), De Mane (The Moon), De Sonne (The Sun), etc. One of the exceptions in this street are the four, almost identical neo-Baroque corner houses on the roundabout, also called 'white palaces', for which the architect drew inspiration from the Castle of Chambord in France.

 

Cathedral of Our Lady (interior)

It is often said that faith moves mountains but something more was needed to realise a building with the size and allure of the Cathedral of Our Lady. Work started on the choir in 1352 but the cathedral itself was only completed in 1521. The result was an imposing transept basilica with seven naves – a unique combination in the world –, a main nave measuring 117 metres, a 65-metre long transept and an ambulatory perforated with chapels. This stunning example of Brabant Gothic is completed with a 123-metre high spire. Over time the Iconoclast and a number of horrific fires did take their toll but even today the Cathedral of Our Lady is still home to several art treasures and sights. These include the four paintings by Peter Paul Rubens: The Elevation of the Cross (1610) in the left transept, The Ascension of the Virgin Mary (1626) above the main altar, The Descent from the Cross (1612) in the right transept and Christ's Ascension(1611) in one of the chapels off the ambulatory. The painting of Mary's Death (1633) by Abraham Matthyssens can be found behind the main altar. Cornelis Schut's The Ascension of the Virgin Mary (1647) can also be found in the crossing tower. To the right, in the Cathedral, on the altar of the Brotherhood of the Holiest Sacrament stands the Ark of the Covenant. There are nine confessionals in the front left. The twelve apostles are accompanied by twelve female figures. In the Chapel of the Virgin Mary you can find the devotional statue of Our Lady of Antwerp, to whom this cathedral is dedicated. The church has several monumental tombs, including that of Isabella of Bourbon and the Plantin family (of the eponymous printing house). Another one worth mentioning is the Baroque tomb of Bishop Capello (1676) by Artus Quellinus the Younger. Until 2018 you can also take in the magnificent exhibition, Reunion. Masterpieces by artists from Quentin Massys to Rubens, which originally can be found in Antwerp's Museum of Fine Arts which is currently closed for renovation, are temporarily on display in the cathedral for which they were originally created.

 

Museum Plantin-Moretus/Prints Room (interior)

Plantin-Moretus MuseumThe museum is located on the picturesque Vrijdagmarkt in the historic centre of the city. A real must see – and certainly not only restricted to visitors who have an interest in the development and the history of book publishing. Sightseeing tourists invariably put this museum at the top of their list of places to see in Antwerp.The Plantin-Moretus Museum is the continuation of the Officina Plantiniana, founded by Christoffel Plantijn in 1555, as the first industrial printing works in history. Today it constitutes the only fully equipped printing works-publishing house, which dates back to the Renaissance and Baroque Period. In 2001 Unesco granted the old company and home archives and the oldest printing presses world heritage status. This magnificent patrician house, the unique typographical treasury and the resplendent book museum were added to the World Heritage List in 2002.It is here that the Masters of the Gulden Passer (The Golden Compass) lived and worked. Visitors can still admire the original interior of the house, decorated with tapestries, gilded leather walls, paintings and sculptures. The museum also gives an educational overview of the whole book production process from the 15th to the 18th Century. End your visit in one of the many libraries of the museum or take a breath of fresh air in one of the gardens of the inner courtyard.

 

Rubens' House (interior)

In 1611 Rubens bought the building on Wapper Street and enlarged it to provide a home and studio, which had all the style of a palazzo. It was here that he received scores of distinguished guests and that he developed his astonishing career.The Rubens' House is a complex around an inner courtyard. The baroque portico between the courtyard and the Flemish-Italian Renaissance garden was designed by the master himself. After Rubens died in 1640 the building changed hands several times. The city tried to buy the dilapidated building both in the 18th and the 19th Century but to no avail. In 1937 the city finally succeeded in doing so by expropriating what was now scarcely more than a ruin. Restoration followed. The museum houses ten works by Rubens including his self-portrait, Adam and Eve in Paradise, Henry IV in the battle for Paris and a portrait of Sir Anthony Van Dyck as a boy. Many objets d'art and utensils are also on display, which either belonged to Rubens himself or date from his time, including a still life by Frans Snyders, The Art Room of Cornelis van der Geest by Willem Van Haecht, Mercury and Argos by Jacob Jordaens, an anonymous portrait of Rubens' second wife Hélène Fourment, Antwerp cabinets and also the chair, which Rubens used as a dean of his guild.

 

Recommended hotels in Antwerp

Hotel 't Sandt

Hôtel 't Sandt is a luxury first class hotel in the centre of Antwerp, Belgium, reflecting the historical elegance of Antwerp Old Town. Housed in a magnificently restored neo-roccoco mansion, the Hôtel 't Sandt is located directly around the corner from most of the stylish design stores, funky restaurants and the trendy South quarter. This Antwerp accommodation is perfect as a base from which exploring the numerous sightseeing attractions Antwerp has to offer: Antwerp City Hall at the Grote Markt main square, the fascinating Guildhouses, or the Het Steen Fortress are just some examples of the enchanting things to see in Antwerp. Guests booking Hôtel 't Sandt may enjoy the beautiful Italian courtyard and the Summer terrace which offers an appealing view of the Cathedral. Weather permitting it is possible to have breakfast here. An attentive staff will make sure that your stay in Antwerp will be even more unforgettable than expected. Leave your car in the on-site garage and discover on foot this incredibly beautiful city.! Wireless Internet access is included in the price. Parking is not included in the price and costs €16,00. Breakfast is included in the price. Hôtel 't Sandt is a luxury first class hotel in the centre of Antwerp, Belgium, reflecting the historical elegance of Antwerp Old Town. Housed in a magnificently restored neo-roccoco mansion, the Hôtel 't Sandt is located directly around the corner from most of the stylish design stores, funky restaurants and the trendy South quarter.
 

Holiday Inn Express Antwerp City-North

Location. Near the airport, Holiday Inn Express Antwerp City-North is located in Antwerp's The Islet neighborhood and close to Museum Aan de Stoom, Antwerp City Hall, and Antwerp Expo. Nearby points of interest also include Vleeshuis and Antwerp Market Square. Hotel Features. Holiday Inn Express Antwerp City-North features a restaurant and a bar/lounge. The hotel serves a complimentary breakfast. This 3-star property offers a meeting/conference room and business services. Complimentary wireless Internet access is available in public areas. Guest parking is limited, and available on a limited first-come, first-served basis (surcharge). Additional property amenities include multilingual staff, currency exchange, and dry cleaning/laundry services. Guestrooms. 140 air-conditioned guestrooms at Holiday Inn Express Antwerp City-North feature coffee/tea makers and safes. Furnishings include desks and sofa beds. Bathrooms feature hair dryers. Wireless Internet access is complimentary. Guestrooms offer direct-dial phones with voice mail. Televisions have satellite channels and pay movies. Rooms also include windows that open. Guests may request irons/ironing boards.
 

City Inn Luxe Hotel

Location. Connected to the airport, City Inn Luxe Hotel is located in Antwerp's Ring Road neighborhood and close to Antwerp Zoo, Antwerp City Hall, and Antwerp Expo. Nearby points of interest also include Rubens House and Museum Mayer van den Bergh. Hotel Features. City Inn Luxe Hotel features laundry facilities and an elevator (lift). A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Guest parking is complimentary. The front desk is open 24 hours a day. Guestrooms. 92 guestrooms at City Inn Luxe Hotel feature windows that open and blackout drapes/curtains. Beds come with down blankets. Bathrooms feature shower/tub combinations with handheld showerheads, and hair dryers. Wireless Internet access is available for a surcharge. Guestrooms offer direct-dial phones. Televisions have cable channels. Housekeeping is offered daily and guests may request irons/ironing boards.
 

Astoria Hotel

Location. Located in central Antwerp, Astoria Hotel is within walking distance of Diamond Museum Province of Antwerp and Antwerp Zoo. Nearby points of interest also include Rubens House and Museum Mayer van den Bergh. Hotel Features. This 3-star property has a business center. Complimentary wireless and wired high-speed Internet access is available in public areas. The hotel serves a complimentary breakfast. Guest parking is limited, and available on a limited first-come, first-served basis (surcharge). Additional property amenities include multilingual staff, laundry facilities, and complimentary newspapers in the lobby. This is a smoke-free property. Guestrooms. 66 air-conditioned guestrooms at Astoria Hotel feature safes and windows that open. Bathrooms feature bathtubs, complimentary toiletries, and hair dryers. Wireless Internet access is complimentary. Guestrooms offer direct-dial phones with voice mail. Televisions have cable channels and pay movies. Guests may request irons/ironing boards and wake-up calls. The recreational activities listed below are available either on site or near the hotel; fees may apply.
 

Novotel Antwerpen

Location. Novotel Antwerpen is a business-friendly hotel located in Antwerp, close to Port of Antwerp, Museum Aan de Stoom, and Vleeshuis. Additional points of interest include National Maritime Museum and St. Pauluskerk. Hotel Features. Novotel Antwerpen features a restaurant and a bar/lounge. Room service is available. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool. This 3-star property offers a meeting/conference room and audiovisual equipment. Wireless Internet access (surcharge) is available in public areas and the hotel has an Internet point. This Antwerp property has 175 square meters of event space. Guest parking is complimentary. Additional property amenities include a rooftop terrace, a terrace, and barbecue grills. Guestrooms. 120 air-conditioned guestrooms at Novotel Antwerpen feature minibars and safes. Accommodations offer pool or courtyard views. Bathrooms feature hair dryers. Wireless Internet access is complimentary. Guestrooms offer desks. Televisions have satellite channels and free movie channels. Also included are windows that open and clock radios. Guests may request irons/ironing boards and wake-up calls. The recreational activities listed below are available either on site or nearby; fees may apply.
 



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