Attractions in Antwerp

Antwerp attractions listed by popularity

This Gothic masterpiece of lacework in stone was built between 1352 and 1521. As one of the prime remainders of Antwerp’s golden era, the cathedral continues to dominate the city’s skyline.

The city’s central square, known as Grote Markt is lined with magnificent historic guild houses. At the center of the square, in front of the 16th century city hall is the statue of Brabo, a legendary city hero.

Antwerp’s palatial city hall was built between 1561 and 1565. Its Flemish-Renaissance style architecture influenced the design of many government buildings across Europe.

The oldest building in Antwerp is the Steen (stone in English). It was named as such since it was one of the first buildings in stone. Until 2008 the historic castle was home to the National Maritime Museum.

Rightly dubbed the ‘Railway Cathedral’, Antwerp’s monumental Central station was built between 1895 and 1905. Modernized and expanded between 1995 and 2009, it is one of the world’s greatest railway stations.

This late 19th century fountain depicts the legendary hero Silvius Brabo who defeated the giant Antigoon. The statue symbolizes the free waterways, crucial to the city’s survival.

The palatial house where P.P. Rubens, Antwerp’s most famous painter lived and worked is now one of the city’s most popular museums.

MAS

MAS is a museum built in 2010 to group different collections of artifacts related to the city’s tumultuous history. The new collection is housed in a conspicuous modern tower with a stacked design.

Once a cemetery in the heart of the city, the Groenplaats is now one of Antwerp’s most popular squares. It is a perfect place for drinking one of the many local beers.

In 2005 this fine printing workshop and museum was the first museum added to Unesco’s World Heritage List. The museum was once home to the world’s most prolific printing shop.

The Stadsfeestzaal was built in 1908 as the city’s Festival Hall. After a fire destroyed the building, it was renovated and converted into an upscale shopping center.

Paleis op de Meir is a former royal palace that was originally built in the mid 18th century for a wealthy merchant. Some of its illustrious owners included Napoleon and the Dutch king Willem I.

The Church of St. Charles Borromeo is located at a small Italianesque square. The ornately decorated church is representative for the Baroque architecture favored by the Jesuits in the 17th century.

It offers a extraordinary display of buildings in different styles, ranging from neo-Byzantine to Art Nouveau.

At the turn of the 16th century, during the city’s heyday, the Meir was Antwerp’s most prestigious street. Today the pedestrianized street is best known as the city’s prime shopping street.

Schelde Vrij (Free Scheldt) is a towering monument created in 1873 to commemorate the settlement of 1863 that abolished the toll levied by the Dutch on ships sailing to Antwerp.

Zoo

The Antwerp Zoo, located in the center of the city, is one of the oldest zoos in the world. There are several exotic themed 19th century buildings in the zoo such as an Egyptian temple.

A favorite among tourists is a walk along the 16th century Vlaeykensgang, one of Antwerp’s few remaining historic alleys. The narrow alley’s entrances are no wider than a doorway.

The Vleeshuis was built in 1504 for the Butchers’ guild. The building – long the tallest secular building in the city – functioned as a meat market until 1810 when the French occupying forces abolished the Butchers’ guild.

Hidden behind a brick wall lies Antwerp’s Saint-Catherine Beguinage. The about 40 picturesque historic houses date back to the 17th century when the counter-reformation caused a religious revival in the city.

Richard Rogers designed Antwerp’s modern palace of Justice, which was built in 2005 to centralize the different law courts spread over the city. Its most eye-catching characteristic are the tall scaled roofs.

The Red Star Line Museum narrates the story of the many immigrants who departed here on one of the ocean liners of the Red Star Line, in the hope to start a new life in the New World across the Atlantic Ocean.

The Royal Museum of Fine Arts was built at the end of the 19th century in a newly developed neighborhood. The museum’s collection features many works from Rubens and other famous Antwerp artists.

The Bourla is a picturesque theater building, originally built in 1834 by the French architect Pierre Bourla. Even though the building has been a protected monument since 1938 it was almost demolished during the 1980s.

Ever since this square was created in the 16th century, auctions of second-hand goods have been held here every Friday. The square is also the site of one of the city’s most important museums, Plantin-Moretus.

Originally part of the walls encircling the city, this gate was built in honor of the Spanish king Philip IV and is said to be designed by P.P Rubens. The gate moved twice before being installed at its present location.

This historic square, created in the 16th century, was laid out around a weighing house. The weighing house burned down in the 19th century, and the area is now an open, pedestrian friendly square.

Antwerp’s stadspark (city park) was created in the 19th century at the site of a military fort. The triangular park is laid out as an English style landscaped garden and features a pond with an 1869 iron suspension bridge.

This charming small garden close to the city center originated in the early 19th century as a herbal garden. A statue commemorates Peeter van Coudenberghe, a 16th century botanist.

The very first skyscraper in Western Europe, the KBC tower, was built in Antwerp during the early 1930s. When the Art Deco skyscraper was completed in 1932 it measured 87.5 meters.

This partly Gothic, partly Baroque church was originally built in 1571 by a Dominican order. It is best known for its large collection of Flemish paintings and its unique Calvary Mountain.

Sterckshof is a 16th century castle built by the wealthy financier Gerard Sterck as a country house. Until 2014, the castle was home to the Zilvermuseum, a museum with silver artifacts from the 16th century to the present.

Middelheim is a park at the southeast of Antwerp’s city center. The park boasts a large open air sculpture museum created in 1950 for an international exposition. There are now more than 300 sculptures on display.

Leopoldplaats is a square situated near the historic center of Antwerp and named after the first king of Belgium, Leopold I, whose equestrian statue graces the center of the square.

Commissioned by a shipbuilder, this conspicuous Art Nouveau style building nicknamed ‘t bootje (the little boat) is one of the most interesting Art Nouveau buildings in Antwerp.

Rivierenhof, situated in the district of Deurne, is one of the largest parks in Antwerp. It was created by combining the estates of two historic castles and opened to the public in 1921.

The old exchange building was originally constructed in the late 15th century as a merchants’ house. Here traders gathered until 1531, when the new stock exchange building opened.

Zuid (South) is one Antwerp’s most fashionable neighborhoods. Many museums can be found here including the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Photography and the Museum of Fine Arts.

St. James’s Church, one of Antwerp’s largest churches, was built between 1491 and 1656 in late Gothic style. The church is best known as the last resting place of the celebrated local painter Pieter Paul Rubens.

The Felix Pakhuis is an impressive warehouse, built at the end of the 19th century in Antwerp’s port area. Today it is the home of the FelixArchief, the central archive of the city.

A tall Chinese Gate – known locally as the Pagodepoort – marks the entrance of Antwerp’s small Chinatown. The gate is painted with bright colors and decorated with miniature statues and relief sculptures.

Schoonselhof is a beautiful cemetery that resembles a large public park embellished with monuments and ornate graves. Anyone of note in Antwerp from the 19th century on lies buried here.

Despite being the least known of Antwerp’s five so-called monumental churches, the St. Andrew’s Church boasts some impressive sights, in particular the large marble altar and sculpted wooden pulpit.

The Vlaamse Opera was built in the early 20th century as a Flemish counterweight to the 19th century ‘French’ Bourla theater. The neo-Baroque building was designed by Alexis Van Mechelen, the official city architect.

Antwerp attractions listed alphabetically

Hidden behind a brick wall lies Antwerp’s Saint-Catherine Beguinage. The about 40 picturesque historic houses date back to the 17th century when the counter-reformation caused a religious revival in the city.

The very first skyscraper in Western Europe, the KBC tower, was built in Antwerp during the early 1930s. When the Art Deco skyscraper was completed in 1932 it measured 87.5 meters.

This charming small garden close to the city center originated in the early 19th century as a herbal garden. A statue commemorates Peeter van Coudenberghe, a 16th century botanist.

The Bourla is a picturesque theater building, originally built in 1834 by the French architect Pierre Bourla. Even though the building has been a protected monument since 1938 it was almost demolished during the 1980s.

This late 19th century fountain depicts the legendary hero Silvius Brabo who defeated the giant Antigoon. The statue symbolizes the free waterways, crucial to the city’s survival.

The Vleeshuis was built in 1504 for the Butchers’ guild. The building – long the tallest secular building in the city – functioned as a meat market until 1810 when the French occupying forces abolished the Butchers’ guild.

This Gothic masterpiece of lacework in stone was built between 1352 and 1521. As one of the prime remainders of Antwerp’s golden era, the cathedral continues to dominate the city’s skyline.

Rightly dubbed the ‘Railway Cathedral’, Antwerp’s monumental Central station was built between 1895 and 1905. Modernized and expanded between 1995 and 2009, it is one of the world’s greatest railway stations.

Antwerp’s palatial city hall was built between 1561 and 1565. Its Flemish-Renaissance style architecture influenced the design of many government buildings across Europe.

The Felix Pakhuis is an impressive warehouse, built at the end of the 19th century in Antwerp’s port area. Today it is the home of the FelixArchief, the central archive of the city.

Once a cemetery in the heart of the city, the Groenplaats is now one of Antwerp’s most popular squares. It is a perfect place for drinking one of the many local beers.

The city’s central square, known as Grote Markt is lined with magnificent historic guild houses. At the center of the square, in front of the 16th century city hall is the statue of Brabo, a legendary city hero.

Leopoldplaats is a square situated near the historic center of Antwerp and named after the first king of Belgium, Leopold I, whose equestrian statue graces the center of the square.

MAS

MAS is a museum built in 2010 to group different collections of artifacts related to the city’s tumultuous history. The new collection is housed in a conspicuous modern tower with a stacked design.

At the turn of the 16th century, during the city’s heyday, the Meir was Antwerp’s most prestigious street. Today the pedestrianized street is best known as the city’s prime shopping street.

Middelheim is a park at the southeast of Antwerp’s city center. The park boasts a large open air sculpture museum created in 1950 for an international exposition. There are now more than 300 sculptures on display.

Richard Rogers designed Antwerp’s modern palace of Justice, which was built in 2005 to centralize the different law courts spread over the city. Its most eye-catching characteristic are the tall scaled roofs.

The old exchange building was originally constructed in the late 15th century as a merchants’ house. Here traders gathered until 1531, when the new stock exchange building opened.

A tall Chinese Gate – known locally as the Pagodepoort – marks the entrance of Antwerp’s small Chinatown. The gate is painted with bright colors and decorated with miniature statues and relief sculptures.

Paleis op de Meir is a former royal palace that was originally built in the mid 18th century for a wealthy merchant. Some of its illustrious owners included Napoleon and the Dutch king Willem I.

In 2005 this fine printing workshop and museum was the first museum added to Unesco’s World Heritage List. The museum was once home to the world’s most prolific printing shop.

The Red Star Line Museum narrates the story of the many immigrants who departed here on one of the ocean liners of the Red Star Line, in the hope to start a new life in the New World across the Atlantic Ocean.

Rivierenhof, situated in the district of Deurne, is one of the largest parks in Antwerp. It was created by combining the estates of two historic castles and opened to the public in 1921.

The Royal Museum of Fine Arts was built at the end of the 19th century in a newly developed neighborhood. The museum’s collection features many works from Rubens and other famous Antwerp artists.

The palatial house where P.P. Rubens, Antwerp’s most famous painter lived and worked is now one of the city’s most popular museums.

Schelde Vrij (Free Scheldt) is a towering monument created in 1873 to commemorate the settlement of 1863 that abolished the toll levied by the Dutch on ships sailing to Antwerp.

Schoonselhof is a beautiful cemetery that resembles a large public park embellished with monuments and ornate graves. Anyone of note in Antwerp from the 19th century on lies buried here.

Despite being the least known of Antwerp’s five so-called monumental churches, the St. Andrew’s Church boasts some impressive sights, in particular the large marble altar and sculpted wooden pulpit.

The Church of St. Charles Borromeo is located at a small Italianesque square. The ornately decorated church is representative for the Baroque architecture favored by the Jesuits in the 17th century.

St. James’s Church, one of Antwerp’s largest churches, was built between 1491 and 1656 in late Gothic style. The church is best known as the last resting place of the celebrated local painter Pieter Paul Rubens.

This partly Gothic, partly Baroque church was originally built in 1571 by a Dominican order. It is best known for its large collection of Flemish paintings and its unique Calvary Mountain.

The Stadsfeestzaal was built in 1908 as the city’s Festival Hall. After a fire destroyed the building, it was renovated and converted into an upscale shopping center.

Antwerp’s stadspark (city park) was created in the 19th century at the site of a military fort. The triangular park is laid out as an English style landscaped garden and features a pond with an 1869 iron suspension bridge.

This historic square, created in the 16th century, was laid out around a weighing house. The weighing house burned down in the 19th century, and the area is now an open, pedestrian friendly square.

The oldest building in Antwerp is the Steen (stone in English). It was named as such since it was one of the first buildings in stone. Until 2008 the historic castle was home to the National Maritime Museum.

Sterckshof is a 16th century castle built by the wealthy financier Gerard Sterck as a country house. Until 2014, the castle was home to the Zilvermuseum, a museum with silver artifacts from the 16th century to the present.

Commissioned by a shipbuilder, this conspicuous Art Nouveau style building nicknamed ‘t bootje (the little boat) is one of the most interesting Art Nouveau buildings in Antwerp.

The Vlaamse Opera was built in the early 20th century as a Flemish counterweight to the 19th century ‘French’ Bourla theater. The neo-Baroque building was designed by Alexis Van Mechelen, the official city architect.

A favorite among tourists is a walk along the 16th century Vlaeykensgang, one of Antwerp’s few remaining historic alleys. The narrow alley’s entrances are no wider than a doorway.

Ever since this square was created in the 16th century, auctions of second-hand goods have been held here every Friday. The square is also the site of one of the city’s most important museums, Plantin-Moretus.

Originally part of the walls encircling the city, this gate was built in honor of the Spanish king Philip IV and is said to be designed by P.P Rubens. The gate moved twice before being installed at its present location.

Zoo

The Antwerp Zoo, located in the center of the city, is one of the oldest zoos in the world. There are several exotic themed 19th century buildings in the zoo such as an Egyptian temple.

Zuid (South) is one Antwerp’s most fashionable neighborhoods. Many museums can be found here including the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Photography and the Museum of Fine Arts.

It offers a extraordinary display of buildings in different styles, ranging from neo-Byzantine to Art Nouveau.

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