After two exciting days in Brussels we took the train to Antwerp. This does sound longer than it is, since Antwerp is only 50 minutes away. Our room at B&B Maryline (great location, but no window so therefore not recommendable) was directly in the town center, not even two minutes to walk to the Grote Markt. Unlike in Brussels, where everyone spoke French, here in Antwerp everyone spoke Flemish.
Antwerp has a castle, right on the river Scheldt. It looks a little like a Lego castle, but is actually from the 11th century. In Dutch the castle is called Het Steen, which means ‘The Rock’. The first castle, built around the year 650, was built with sandstone. Already in the 11th century renovations began, this time in harder stone, but the final enlargement and more constructions were done in the 16th century. It’s just a tourist information today and it looks way more interesting from the outside.
The Stadsfeestzaal is an interesting building from the beginning of the 20th century. Even though it looks like a palace inside, it is just a shopping mall today. Though it had other uses before. It burned down in the year 2000, got completely renovated, and reopened in 2007 as mall.
One of the most beautiful buildings of Antwerp is the train station. It’s a really a joy to arrive here and you should take the time to wander around. Of course we didn’t when we arrived, so we walked back and inspected it in detail.
From the inside it looks even more glamorous. The entry hall has the most amazing staircase. Nowadays something like this wouldn’t be built anymore.
Once you are up the stairs, you need to turn around. Because the other side looks as amazing as the one above.
The sculpture in front looks like a dove or a large hand. It is called ‘World Peace’, but in Dutch the name is ‘Vreedzame Hand’. In German we have a word called ‘Friedenstaube‘, which is a peace dove. So it makes sense that the sculpture looks like a hand and a dove.
We walked back to the historical center along the Meir street, the main shopping street in Antwerp.
We had an aperitif along the Bonaparte dock, which really derives its name from the French general. He had big plans for Antwerp, which should become the largest port in his empire. The Belgians got two new docks out of his vision, and one even has his name. Anyways, today you can find the Museum aan de Strome, which opened in 2011 and is the largest in Antwerp. Of course it was too late to visit, but it appears as if it’s worth a visit.
In search of a beer we walked back to the center. The Cathedral of Our Lady was pleasantly illuminated and drew all eyes to itself.
Antwerp was worth a visit. A bit more time would have been welcome to actually go inside one or two museums. But all in all we had a marvelous time. Yours, Pollybert