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Make room for Villa Tinto and the red light district in your trip to Antwerp


Days in
Antwerp

Visit Villa Tinto and the red light district



Villa Tinto and the red light district

+ 32 (0)3.213.06.94 Verversrui 17-19, Antwerp

Only a few years ago, Antwerp's red light district or the Seamen's quarter was the place to go to see Russian sailors, have a drink in a Greek taberna or walk past the window prostitutes. But the streets were renovated and made car-free in 2005, the façades cleaned up and the stores renovated. Today there are only three streets where window prostitution is tolerated, i.e., Schipperstraat, Vingerlingstraat and Verversrui. In the centre of this upgraded neighbourhood, between Verversrui and Schipperstraat lies Villa Tinto. This is a former industrial building which was converted into a chic bordello. In fact Villa Tinto is the largest in its kind in Belgium. One hundred girls work, in shifts, 24/7. Villa Tinto bathes in a warm, red glow, an excellent idea by the well-known Flemish designers, Arne Quinze and Yves Milan, who designed the interior. The blue sign indicates that there is a small police station here. Above Villa Tinto is a penthouse with a doctor's practice and a Bed & Breakfast. Tourists should not feel uncomfortable here, as the red light district is actually one of the safest neighbourhoods in Antwerp.






Tourist favorites in Antwerp

Hessenhuis

Hessenhuis was built at the request of merchants and shippers in the sixteenth century, around the same time as Antwerp's town hall. It was a warehouse to preserve and guard goods that had been carried by land. In addition to warehouse space the ground floor also had stables for the horses and the carts were parked in the large inner courtyard. After a period of severe economic decline it was subsequently used as sleeping quarters for soldiers, as a port and city warehouse and finally as a museum warehouse and office space. The building is constructed in traditional Brabant Gothic architecture, but the building's elongated structure and marble-framed arches point to the influence of the Italian Renaissance. Since 1993 it has been operating as a restaurant-bar, known for its sprawling available drinks menu and its continued commitment to spirit and liveliness.

 

MAS - Museum aan de Stroom (exterior)

MAS | Museum aan de Stroom's amazing collection tells the story of the world in Antwerp and of Antwerp in the world.MAS stands on the site of the former Hansa House, a sixteenth-century trading post. MAS's architecture refers to the old warehouses that can still be found in this neighbourhood. The building is perfectly suited to the Eilandje District's industrial atmosphere. On the square in front of the museum, you can walk across art, on a mosaic by contemporary Belgian artist Luc Tuymans: Dead Skull. In 2000, the public was introduced to the winning design following an international competition: Neutelings Riedijk Architects' tower of exhibition spaces. The first stone of MAS | Museum aan de Stroom was laid in 2006. The 60-metre tower was completed four years later. Since 2011, the general public can enjoy the museum's extensive collection of works, made up of approximately 470,000 exhibits. You can take the giant escalators to the top of the building for free and enjoy splendid views of the city of Antwerp, the River Scheldt and the port.

 

House of Literature

The House of Literature is situated in Minderbroedersrui, behind a beautifully restored eighteenth-century façade. The idea of a museum of Flemish Literature dates from 1912, in the margin of a large-scale Conscience exhibition on the occasion of the centenary of the birthday of the Flemish author. The exhibition attracted large numbers of visitors and as a consequence the city thought that a permanent Conscience Museum would be a good idea. In 1933 the collection was re-housed in a 'Museum van de Vlaamsche Letterkunde', which focused on Flemish literature in general. The museum's task was to collect all literature and cultural archival material about and for Flanders. The building was destroyed in 1944 by German V bombs. All in all damage was limited because a large part of the collection had already been transferred to a safe haven. In 1945 the building was renamed into 'Archive and Museum for Flemish Cultural Life'. This museum would go on to become a study centre, carrying out scientific inventories and research, with archival documents, art objects and iconography relating to southern Dutch cultural life in the broadest possible sense. The name was changed again in 2002 into 'House of Literature – Literatuurhuis'. Its mission now consists of the conservation of literary heritage. This enviable museum and lively centre is an example for similar museums in other countries.

 

Municipal weighing house

The municipal weighing house originally could be found in the centre of this picturesque, green square until the fire of 1873. At the time it was also the tax office where merchandise was weighed and taxed proportionately and where sizes and weights were standardised or calibrated. On the upper floors the guilds organised their meetings and parties. The municipal weighing house was built in 1547 on the initiative of real estate developer and urban planner, Gilbert Schoonbeke, who was widely considered a genius. Merchants built modern brick warehouses around the weighing house. The square must have been really bustling by day. Noordnatie at no. 7 and 8, behind stepped gables with loading doors, is still a silent witness of the square's past as a hub of economic activity. In the 18th century the building was used among others as the surgeon's room and as a polling station during the French Revolution. The building burnt down to the ground in 1873 after being struck by lightning. Only one wall was preserved: the wall with a statue of the Virgin Mary, which gave rise to several miracle stories. In the 1960s artists re-discovered this neighbourhood and Stadswaag became a centre of hip nightlife, with jazz cafes and experimental theatre. The square with its many brown pubs was renovated in 1998 but you can still see the outline of the old weighing house in the pavement today.

 

Saint Pauls' Place

Sint-Paulusplaats or St. Paul's square is a cosy little square in Antwerp's Red Light district and home to several pubs and terraces. Its name dates from 1855 and refers to the eponymous church nearby Veemarkt. The square itself is much older. At the time the northern part of the square was known as 'Crauwelenplein' while the southern part was called 'Huidenmarkt'. The two sections were connected with one another by Kalkbrug bridge. In 1855 Sint-Pietersvliet was partially filled in and Kalkbrug bridge was demolished. As a result Sint-Paulusplaats was enlarged and its shape became more regular.Around the square you will still note several nineteenth-century white façades. A polychrome group of statues of the Holy Family can be seen in a blind window of the corner house on Oudemansstraat. It was made by the sculptor's workshop of De Boeck en Van Wint (1826-1902 and 1829-1906). On the north side of the square, in a deep alley, lies the 'Crauwelenhof' hospice, which was founded by Anna van Havre. After the restoration by architect Peetermans it was turned into a school for disabled children. The neo-Renaissance-style Athene dance café used to be local police station. The pub next to it has a black cannon ball in its façade, which landed there after the Dutch fleet bombed Antwerp in 1830.

 

Great hotels in Antwerp

Small Luxury & Boutique Hotel De Witte Lelie

Located in the very heart of the city center, guests looking for accommodation in Antwerpen in Belgium and those who want to see this city in style, will want to book a stay at the De Witte Lelie Hotel. This 17th century hotel offers an historic experience in contemporary comfort. An ideal setting for weddings, corporate events and special occasions, the De Witte Lelie Hotel boasts beautiful surroundings in a very elegantly designed structure. Spend the day out exploring this charming city and return to be greeted by a staff which aims at providing each and every guest with superior service and ultimate comfort.
 

Hotel Rubens - Grote Markt

Superbly located in the heart of the historic part of the city, Hotel Rubens - Grote Markt offers an outstanding central position in Antwerp, major port of Belgium on the right bank of the river Scheldt. Easily accessible from public transportation system, this cosy 4-star deluxe hotel in Antwerp is within walking distance of the famous Grand Place lively square full of typical brasseries and restaurants. The Rubens - Grote Markt is an ideal solution for both tourists and business travellers since all things of interest of Antwerp are within easy reach of this romantic and charming hotel. A very special feature of the Rubens - Grote Markt Hotel is its friendly and helpful staff, who will always be ready to help you planning your next sightseeing tour or arrange your airport transfers. In short, the Rubens - Grote Markt is definitely the right place to stay for a pleasant holiday in Antwerp.
 

Julien

Welcome to Hotel Julien! There are many great attractions nearby, including Antwerp Market Square, Plantin Moretus Museum, Vleeshuis and Cathedral of Our Lady. Also close by are Groenplaats and Peter Paul Rubens Statue. This Antwerp hotel offers shopping on site, dry cleaning/laundry services and a 24-hour front desk. There is also a bar/lounge where guests can enjoy drinks after a long day. If you are visiting Belgium for business or on vacation, make sure to take some time to relax as you will find spa services and a sauna on offer. Multilingual staff can provide tour/ticket assistance. Enjoy free newspapers in the lobby, where you will also find a safe at reception for your valuables. Guests can make use of the wireless Internet access that is provided free of charge. You will also have access to a meeting/conference room at this hotel. Other amenities include air conditioning in public areas and concierge services.
 

Marjorie II

Welcome on board the Marjorie II, a unique floating accommodation in Antwerp, designed to do luxury cruising. When entering the cruise ship you're struck immediately by the well-designed interior created for luxury, elegance and spaciousness. Ideal for an overnight stop or for a long stay, this child-friendly Antwerp city guest house has all you need to make you feel at home. Ideally moored in the old port of Antwerp only 500 meters from the cathedral and from all major tourist attractions, the Marjorie II guest house is a great choice for both leisure or business travelers. Within walking distance you will find bars, restaurants and shops. Relax in the beautiful and peaceful surroundings and enjoy a stunning view from the large panoramic windows. In the elegant dinning room you will find the highest quality of French-Belgian cuisine, served on the finest china and silverware, all of witch combine for a memorable culinary experience. New bicycles are free to use as well as the outdoor Jacuzzi. Even Vespas are available to rent (driving license is required). Games and videos are also available.
 

Hotel Prinse

The Prinse is a four-star Antwerp Belgium hotel that reflects stately elegance in its 16th century exterior with large windows, vines crawling up white walls, and traditional gardens. The hotel’s interior stands in contrast to its outward appearance with modern décor that features simple clean lines, and restful tones with gray tiles, black furniture, and white walls and lighting. Guests will appreciate the conveniences of private parking in the hotel’s garage as well as Internet service from anywhere in the hotel. And with three event rooms, there isn’t a shortage of space for business meetings or special celebrations. The hotel’s friendly staff can arrange for use of the event rooms, and will always offer great service to ensure a comfortable stay. The sites of Antwerp feature many beautiful 16th and 17th century buildings and monuments, and the Prinse is within walking distance of many of them.
 



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