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Feel connected to the city

City break Antwerp

Experience the authentic atmosphere of Antwerp. Discover unique sights, fun things to do, tips from locals and make your city break truly personal

City break Antwerp

Antwerp is the ideal destination for a weekend break or short city trip. You will find many cosy streets, squares, historic buildings and a wide range of gastronomy options in Antwerp. Drink Belgian beer in an authentic café or stroll through the historic city centre. Throughout the year there are fun festivals and events you can experience. Here are the best things to do in Antwerp.

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8 tips for your city break Antwerp

  1. Antwerp is best explored by walking through the city centre, discovering authentic pubs and fantastic restaurants, beautiful streets, squares, theatres and unique sights
  2. In the trendy district Zuid-Museum ('t Zuid) you will find large stately mansions and elegant art nouveau houses, many nice bars, restaurants and cafés. As the name suggests, there are also museums here, such as the Royal Museum of Fine Arts (KMSKA), the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp (Mukha) and the FotoMuseum (FOMU)
  3. Shopping in Antwerp is a great experience. The most famous shopping street is the Meir. Fashion lovers should go to the Steenhouwersvest and the Nationalestraat or Lombardenvest. The antique street of Antwerp is the Kloosterstraat
  4. In August you also have the Bollekesfeest every year at various places in the historic city centre. Taste the local products and delicious drinks and enjoy the friendly atmosphere
  5. Do you want to experience what it was like to live in the time of Rubens? Every year, on the national holiday of 15 August, the Rubens Market is held in the city centre of Antwerp. Throughout the year, and even more so in summer, the city centre offers an overflowing and varied programme of theatre, music concerts and other art forms
  6. The district near the Central Station are known as the Diamond Quarter. For more than five centuries Antwerp has controlled a large part of the market in diamonds and has four large diamond exchanges. Visit the DIVA Diamond Museum for a complete overview
  7. Near the Meir in the centre of the city you can visit the former home of Peter Paul Rubens, the famous Flemish painter. Stroll through the Rubens House, see the masterpieces such as Adam and Eve and his famous self-portrait, as well as the art he collected himself
  8. Visit the Great Market and enjoy the buzz. Here you will find many cafes, bars and restaurants. Antwerp City Hall is also located on the Great Market. The Cathedral of Our Lady is also close to the Great Market Square. Thanks to its high tower, the cathedral can be seen from many places in Antwerp.

Information about Antwerp

Antwerp is culture, history, a vibrant nightlife and world-class shopping options. The development of Antwerp revolves around the Scheldt and the port. In prehistoric times, the area around this river, which is now called Antwerp, was already inhabited. Axes from the Bronze Age and wells from the Iron Age have been found. In the time of the Romans, Antwerp was still a small village.

In the Middle Ages the harbour town grew enormously due to trade and was eventually granted city rights. The 16th century is known as the 'Antwerp's golden age' in which trade, but also the arts and science flourished. Well-known artists of the time are Rubens and Jordaens. This enormous boom lasted until 1576 when the city was attacked by Spain. On November 4, 1576, the city of Antwerp was plundered and then set on fire by Spanish troops, this is known as the Spanish Fury.

4 facts about Antwerp

  1. Due to the Spanish occupation and the Eighty Years War, many inhabitants left for Holland because the city was closed to trade. The blockade of the Scheldt prevented ships from entering Antwerp for two centuries
  2. It was not until 1792 that the entrance was reopened by the French conquerors of Napoleon. The port was used for the war and there was little trade. After the departure of the French in 1814, Antwerp grew into a world port, among other things because of the trade in rubber and ivory from Belgian-Congo
  3. During the two world wars, the city was heavily bombed, but has been completely rebuilt
  4. Het Steen (Steen Castle) is the oldest preserved building in Antwerp. It was built as a gatehouse to the Antwerp Castle between 1200 and 1225, but was later given many different functions. Charles V rebuilt Het Steen at the beginning of the 16th century. You can still tell by the colour difference in the facade