Antwerp, daughter of the River Scheldt and second largest city of Belgium.. The 500.000 inhabitants call it the ‘Metropolis’ (Antwerpians are known in Belgium for not being too modest). This city has so many different facets that it takes a while before one gets to know it thoroughly.
Antwerp is a splendid city with numerous architectural highlights, most of which date from the 16th (the golden era of Antwerp) and the 17th century. The destructions of the Second World War, unfortunately, has scarred somehow the fair face of the old town.
Still there are enough monuments left for those who like monument-hopping to spend a few days admiring them. The past is also represented by the numerous paintings of Peter Paul Rubens who lived in the Antwerp of the early 17th century.
The city has always held an important place in the Benelux economic union. It is located on the banks of the river Scheldt and is bordered by the countries of The Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and France. Next to being the second largest city it is also the second largest port in Europe behind Rotterdam, Netherlands, and is one of the 10 largest ports in the world.
Antwerp, the diamond center of the World. If diamonds really are a girl’s best friend, than a lot of ladies will not leave out a visit to the diamond district around the Railway Station. This area is also the Jewish part of the city. The presence of many ‘Chassidic’ Jewish people gives the city a flair that cannot be found in other Belgian cities.
The metropolitan is known as the largest trader of diamonds with 70% of trading done in Antwerp. For centuries it has been known as the “diamond capital of the world”. Diamond cutting, polishing and trading is the crux of the city’s economy.
Antwerp, however, does not only live from the past. Nowadays, Antwerp has earned a place among the fashion cities of the world thanks to the efforts of numerous young Flemish fashion designers ( e.g.: Walter Van Beirendonck, Nadine Wynants, Ann De Meulemeester, Dirk Bikkembergs, Kaat Tilley and others). Visit the fashion area of Antwerp near the Meir shopping street.
The trademark cobbled roads, historical heritage, excellent bars and restaurants, diamonds, and chic shopping centers are enough for any tourist to be drawn to Antwerp. Antwerp is a city of many facets like that of being a shopaholic’s heaven and a girl’s best friend for its diamonds. Beer lovers can have their own ‘heady’ time by trying all the typical Belgian flavors.