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Antwerp
Antwerpen (Dutch)
Anvers (French)
The Cathedral and the Scheldt in Antwerp.
Municipal flag
Flag
Coat of arms
Coat of arms
Antwerp municipality in the province of Antwerp
Antwerp municipality in the province of Antwerp
Antwerp is located in Belgium
Antwerp
Location in Belgium
Sovereign state Belgium Belgium
Region  Flemish Region
Community Flanders Flemish Community
Province  Antwerp
Arrondissement Antwerp
Coordinates 51°13′0″N 04°24′0″E / 51.216667°N 4.4°E / 51.216667; 4.4Coordinates: 51°13′0″N 04°24′0″E / 51.216667°N 4.4°E / 51.216667; 4.4
Area 204.51 km²
Population
– Males
– Females
Density
461,496 (2006-01-01)
49.03%
50.97%
2257 inhab./km²
Age distribution
0–19 years
20–64 years
65+ years
(01/01/2006)
22.32%
58.47%
19.21%
Foreigners 13.65% (01/07/2007)
Unemployment rate 16.72% (1 January 2006)
Mean annual income €12,474/pers. (2003)
Mayor (list) Patrick Janssens (SP.A)
Governing parties SP.A, CD&V, VLD
Postal codes 2000-2660
Area codes 03
Website www.antwerpen.be
Foreground: Statue of the giant's hand being thrown into the Scheldt River. Background: Town hall
The Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (Cathedral of our Lady) and the Scheldt river.
Grote Markt

Antwerp (English: /ˈæntwɜrp/  ( listen); Dutch: Antwerpen, [ˈɑntˌʋɛrpə(n)]  ( listen); French: Anvers, [ɑ̃vɛʁ(s)]) is a city and municipality in Belgium and the capital of the Antwerp province in Flanders, one of Belgium's three regions. Antwerp's total population is 472,071 (as of 1 January 2008)[1] and its total area is 204.51 km2 (78.96 sq mi), giving a population density of 2,308 inhabitants per km². The metropolitan area, including the outer commuter zone, covers an area of 1,449 km2 (559 sq mi) with a total of 1,190,769 inhabitants as of 1 January 2008.[2] The nickname of inhabitants of Antwerp is Sinjoren, after the Spanish word señor, which means 'mister' or 'gent'.

Antwerp has long been an important city in the nations of the Benelux both economically and culturally, especially before the Spanish Fury of the Dutch Revolt. It is located on the right bank of the river Scheldt, which is linked to the North Sea by the estuary Westerschelde.

Contents

History

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Origin of the name

According to folklore, and as celebrated by the statue in front of the town hall, the city got its name from a legend involving a mythical giant called Antigoon who lived near the river Scheldt. He exacted a toll from those crossing the river, and for those who refused, he severed one of their hands and threw it into the river Scheldt. Eventually, the giant was slain by a young hero named Brabo, who cut off the giant's own hand and flung it into the river. Hence the name Antwerpen, from Dutch hand werpen—akin to Old English hand and wearpan (= to throw), that has changed to today's warp.[3]

In favour of this folk etymology is the fact that hand-cutting was indeed practised in Europe, the right hand of a man who died without issue being cut off and sent to the feudal lord as proof of main-morte. However, John Lothrop Motley argues that Antwerp's name derives from an 't werf (on the wharf).[4] Aan 't werp (at the warp) is also possible. This 'warp' (thrown ground) would be a man made hill, just high enough to remain dry at high tide, whereupon a farm would be built. Another word for werp is pol (hence polders).

The most prevailing theory is that the name originated in the Gallo-Roman period and comes from the Latin antverpia. Antverpia would come from Ante (before) Verpia (deposition, sedimentation), indicating land that forms by deposition in the inside curve of a river. Note that the river Scheldt, before a transition period between 600 to 750, followed a different track. This must have coincided roughly with the current ringway south of the city, situating the city within a former curve of the river.[5]

Pre-1500

Historical Antwerp had its origins in a Gallo-Roman vicus civilization. Excavations carried out in the oldest section near the Scheldt, 1952-1961 (ref. Princeton), produced pottery shards and fragments of glass from mid-second century to the end of the third century.

In the 4th century, Antwerp was first named, having been settled by the Germanic Franks.[6] The name was reputed to have been derived from "anda" (at) and "werpum" (wharf).[4]

The Merovingian Antwerp, now fortified, was evangelized by Saint Amand in the 7th century. At the end of the 10th century, the Scheldt became the boundary of the Holy Roman Empire. Antwerp became a margraviate, a border province facing the County of Flanders.

In the 11th century Godfrey of Bouillon was for some years known as the marquis of Antwerp. In the 12th century, Norbert of Xanten established a community of his Premonstratensian canons at St. Michael's Abbey at Caloes. Antwerp was also the headquarters of Edward III during his early negotiations with Jacob van Artevelde, and his son Lionel, the earl of Cambridge, was born there in 1338.

16th century

After the closing of the Zwin and the consequent decline of Bruges, the city of Antwerp, then part of the Duchy of Brabant, became of importance. At the end of the 15th century the foreign trading houses were transferred from Bruges to Antwerp, and the building assigned to the English nation is specifically mentioned in 1510.

Fernand Braudel states that Antwerp became "the center of the entire international economy, something Bruges had never been even at its height."[7] Antwerp was the richest city in Europe at this time.[8] Antwerp's golden age is tightly linked to the "Age of Exploration". Over the first half of the 16th century Antwerp grew to become the second-largest European city north of the Alps by 1560. Many foreign merchants were resident in the city. Francesco Guicciardini, the Venetian envoy, stated that hundreds of ships would pass in a day, and 2,000 carts entered the city each week. Portuguese ships laden with pepper and cinnamon would unload their cargo.

Without a long-distance merchant fleet, and governed by an oligarchy of banker-aristocrats forbidden to engage in trade, the economy of Antwerp was foreigner-controlled, which made the city very cosmopolitan, with merchants and traders from Venice, Ragusa, Spain and Portugal. Antwerp had a policy of toleration, which attracted a large orthodox Jewish community. Antwerp was not a "free" city though, since it had been reabsorbed into the Duchy of Brabant in 1406 and was controlled from Brussels.

Antwerp experienced three booms during its golden age: The first based on the pepper market, a second launched by American silver coming from Seville (ending with the bankruptcy of Spain in 1557), and a third boom, after the stabilising Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis, in 1559, based on the textiles industry. The boom-and-bust cycles and inflationary cost-of-living squeezed less-skilled workers.

The religious revolution of the Reformation erupted in violent riots in August 1566, as in other parts of the Netherlands. The regent Margaret, Duchess of Parma, was swept aside when Philip II sent the Duke of Alba at the head of an army the following summer. When the Eighty Years' War broke out in 1572, commercial trading between Antwerp and the Spanish port of Bilbao collapsed and became impossible. On November 4, 1576, Spanish soldiers plundered the city. During the Spanish Fury 6,000 citizens were massacred, 800 houses were burnt down, and over 2 million sterling of damage was done.

Antwerp became the capital of the Dutch revolt. In 1585, Alessandro Farnese, Duke of Parma and Piacenza, captured it after a long siege and as part of the terms of surrender its Protestant citizens were given two years to settle their affairs before quitting the city.[9] Most went to the United Provinces in the north starting the Dutch Golden Age. Antwerp's banking was controlled for a generation by Genoa, and Amsterdam became the new trading centre.

17th-19th centuries

Map of Antwerp, its buildings and the march. (1624)

The recognition of the independence of the United Provinces by the Treaty of Münster in 1648 stipulated that the Scheldt should be closed to navigation, which destroyed Antwerp's trading activities. This impediment remained in force until 1863, although the provisions were relaxed during French rule from 1795 to 1814, and also during the time Belgium formed part of the Kingdom of the United Netherlands (1815 to 1830). Antwerp had reached the lowest point of its fortunes in 1800, and its population had sunk under 40,000, when Napoleon, realizing its strategic importance, assigned two million to enlarge the harbor by constructing two docks and a mole and deepening the Scheldt to allow for larger ships to approach Antwerp.[8] Napoleon hoped that by making Antwerp's harbor the finest in Europe he would be able to counter London's harbor and stint English growth, but he was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo before he could see the plan through.[10]

In 1830, the city was captured by the Belgian insurgents, but the citadel continued to be held by a Dutch garrison under General David Hendrik Chassé. For a time Chassé subjected the town to periodic bombardment which inflicted much damage, and at the end of 1832 the citadel itself was besieged by a French army. During this attack the town was further damaged. In December 1832, after a gallant defence, Chassé made an honourable surrender.

Later that century, a ring of fortresses was constructed some 10 kilometers from the city center, as Antwerp was considered vital for the survival of the young Belgian state.

20th century

Antwerp was the first city to host the World Gymnastics Championships, in 1903. During World War I, the city became the fallback point of the Belgian Army after the defeat at Liège. It was taken after heavy fighting by the German Army, and the Belgians were forced to retreat westward.

Antwerp hosted the 1920 Summer Olympics. During World War II, the city was an important strategic target because of its port. It was occupied by Germany in May 1940 and liberated by the British 11th Armoured Division on September 4, 1944. After this, the Germans attempted to destroy the Port of Antwerp, which was used by the Allies to bring new material ashore. Thousands of V-1 and V-2 missiles battered the city. The city was hit by more V-2s than all other targets during the entire war combined, but the attack did not succeed in destroying the port since many of the missiles fell upon other parts of the city. As a result, the city itself was severely damaged and rebuilt after the war in a modern style. After the war, Antwerp, which had already had a sizable Jewish population before the war, once again became a major European center of Haredi (and particularly Hasidic) Orthodox Judaism.

Historical population

Population time-line of Antwerp.

This is the population of the city of Antwerp only, not of the larger current municipality of the same name.

  • 1374: 18,000[11]
  • 1486: 40,000[12]
  • 1500: around 44/49,000 inhabitants[13]
  • 1526: 50,000[14]
  • 1567: 105,000 (90,000 permanent residents and 15,000 "floating population", including foreign merchants and soldiers. At the time only 10 cities in Europe reached this size.)[14]
  • 1575: around 100,000 (after the Inquisition)
  • 1584: 84,000 (after the Spanish Fury, the French Fury[15] and the Calvinistic republic)
  • 1586 (May): 60,000 (after siege)
  • 1586 (October): 50,000
  • 1591: 46,000
  • 1612: 54,000[16]
  • 1620: 66,000 (Twelve Years' Truce)
  • 1640: 54,000 (after the Black Death epidemics)
  • 1700: 66,000[17]
  • 1765: 40,000
  • 1784: 51,000
  • 1800: 45,500
  • 1815: 54,000[18]
  • 1830: 73,500
  • 1856: 111,700
  • 1880: 179,000
  • 1900: 275,100
  • 1925: 308,000
  • 1959: 260,000[19]

Municipality

Districts of Antwerp.

The municipality comprises the city of Antwerp proper and several towns. It is divided into nine entities (districts):

  1. Antwerp (district)
  2. Berchem
  3. Berendrecht-Zandvliet-Lillo
  4. Borgerhout
  5. Deurne
  6. Ekeren
  7. Hoboken
  8. Merksem
  9. Wilrijk

Buildings, landmarks and museums

Antwerp City Hall at the Grote Markt (Main Square).
16th-century Guildhouses at the Grote Markt.
The Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (Cathedral of our Lady), here seen from the Groenplaats, is the highest cathedral in the Low Countries and home to several triptychs by Baroque painter Rubens. It remains the tallest building in the city.
Statue of Brabo and the giant's hand
Antwerp lawcourts

In the 16th century, Antwerp was noted for the wealth of its citizens ("Antwerpia nummis"); the houses of these wealthy merchants and manufacturers have been preserved throughout the city. However fire has destroyed several old buildings, such as the house of the Hanseatic League on the northern quays in 1891. The city also suffered considerable war damage by V-bombs, and in recent years other noteworthy buildings were demolished for new developments.

Fortifications

Het Steen (literally: 'The Stone').

Although Antwerp was formerly a fortified city, nothing remains of the former enceinte or of the old citadel defended by General Chassé in 1832, except for the Steen, which has been restored. Modern Antwerp's broad avenues mark the position of the original fortifications. After the establishment of Belgian independence, Antwerp was defended by the citadel and an enceinte around the city. In 1859, seventeen of the twenty-two fortresses constructed under Wellington's supervision in 1815–1818 were dismantled and the old citadel and enceinte were removed. A new enceinte 8 miles (13 km) long was constructed, and the villages of Berchem and Borgerhout, now boroughs of Antwerp, were absorbed within the city.

This enceinte is protected by a broad wet ditch, and in the caponiers are the magazines and store chambers of the fortress. The enceinte has nineteen openings or gateways, but of these seven are not used by the public. As soon as the enceinte was finished eight detached forts from 2 to 2-½ miles from the enceinte were constructed. They begin on the north near Wijnegem and the zone of inundation, and terminate on the south at Hoboken. In 1870 Fort Merksem and the redoubts of Berendrecht and Oorderen were built for the defence of the area to be inundated north of Antwerp.

In the 1870s, the fortifications of Antwerp were deemed to be out of date, given the increased range and power of artillery and explosives. Antwerp was transformed into a fortified position by constructing an outer line of forts and batteries 6 to 9 miles (14 km) from the enceinte.

Commerce

The Boerentoren ("Farmers' tower"), nickname of the KBC Bank building in Antwerp.

According to the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), the port of Antwerp was the seventeenth largest (by tonnage) port in the world in 2005 and second only to Rotterdam in Europe. Importantly it handles high volumes of economically attractive general and project cargo, as well as bulk cargo. Antwerp's docklands, with five oil refineries, are home to a massive concentration of petrochemical industries, second only to the petrochemical cluster in Houston, Texas. Electricity generation is also an important activity, with four nuclear power plants at Doel, a conventional power station in Kallo, as well as several smaller combined cycle plants. There are plans for a wind farm in a disused area of the docklands.

The old Belgian bluestone quays bordering the Scheldt for a distance of 3.5 miles (5.6 km) to the north and south of the city centre have been retained for their sentimental value and are used mainly by cruise ships and short-sea shipping.

Antwerp's other great mainstay is the diamond trade. The city has four diamond bourses: one for bort and three for gem quality goods. Since World War II families of the large Hasidic Jewish community have dominated Antwerp's diamond trading industry, although the last two decades have seen Indian and Armenian traders become increasingly important. Antwerp World Diamond Centre, the successor to the Hoge Raad voor Diamant, plays an important role in setting standards, regulating professional ethics, training and promoting the interests of Antwerp as a centre of the diamond industry.

Transportation

Road

A motorway bypass encircles much of the city centre. Known locally as the "Ring" it offers motorway connections to Brussels, Hasselt and Liège, Ghent, Lille and Bruges and Breda and Bergen op Zoom (Netherlands). The banks of the Scheldt are linked by three road tunnels (in order of construction): the Waasland Tunnel (1934), the Kennedy Tunnel (1967) and the Liefkenshoek Tunnel (1991). Currently a fourth high volume highway link called "Oosterweelconnection" is in the tendering stage. It will entail the construction of a long viaduct and bridge (the Lange Wapper Bridge) over the Scheldt on the north side of the city. The completion date is as yet uncertain. The cost of the connection is estimated at 2.2 billion euro.

Rail

Antwerp Central Station

Antwerp is the focus of lines to the north to Essen and the Netherlands, east to Turnhout, south to Mechelen, Brussels and Charleroi via Luttre, and southwest to Ghent and Ostend. It is served by international trains to Amsterdam and Paris, and national trains to Ghent, Bruges, Ostend, Brussels, Charleroi, Hasselt, Liège and Turnhout.

Antwerp's Central station is an architectural monument in itself, and is mentioned in W G Sebald's haunting novel Austerlitz. Prior to the completion in 2007 of a tunnel that runs northwards under the city centre to emerge at the old Antwerp Dam station, Centraal was a terminus. Trains to the Netherlands either had to reverse at Centraal or call only at Berchem station, 2 km to the south, and then describe a semicircle to the east, round the Singel.

City transportation

The city has a web of tram and bus lines operated by De Lijn and providing access to the city centre, suburbs and the Left Bank. The tram network has 12 lines, of which the underground section is called the "premetro" and includes a tunnel under the river.

Air

Antwerp International Airport is in the district of Deurne. CityJet flies to London (City Airport) and Manchester in England and remains the only airline with scheduled air services to and from Antwerp International Airport. The airport is connected by bus to the city center. Brussels Airport is about 45 km from the city of Antwerp, and connects the city worldwide. The airport is connected by bus and by train to the city centre of Antwerp.

Culture

One of the many Marian statues which feature on Antwerp street corners

Antwerp had an artistic reputation in the 17th century, based on its school of painting, which included Rubens, Van Dyck, Jordaens, the two Teniers and many others. Informally, most Antverpians (in Dutch Antwerpenaren, people from Antwerp) daily speak Antverpian (in Dutch Antwerps), a dialect that Dutch-speakers know as distinctive from other Brabantic dialects through its typical vowel pronunciations: approximating the vowel sound in 'bore'— for one of its long 'a'-sounds while other short 'a's are very sharp like the vowel sound in 'hat'. The Echt Antwaarps Teater ("Authentic Antverpian Theatre") brings the dialect on stage.

Fashion

Antwerp is a rising fashion city, and has produced designers such as the Antwerp Six. The city has a cult status in the fashion world, due to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, one of the most important fashion academies in Europe. It has served as the learning centre for a large number of Belgian fashion designers. Since the 1980s, several graduates of the Belgian Royal Academy of Fine Arts have become internationally successful fashion designers in Antwerp.

Local products

Antwerp is famous for its local products and in August every year the Bollekesfeest takes place. The Bollekesfeest is a showcase for such local products as beer from the De Koninck Brewery, better known in Antwerp as a "Bolleke", the Mokatine sweets made by Confiserie Roodthooft, Elixir D'Anvers, a locally made liqueur, locally roasted coffee from Koffie Verheyen, sugar from Candico, Poolster pickled herring, Equinox horse meat, and others. The local products are represented by a non-profit making organisation, Streekproducten Provincie Antwerpen vzw.

Miscellaneous

Sports

The major sport clubs are K.F.C. Germinal Beerschot and R. Antwerp F.C. (football) and Antwerp Diamond Giants (basketball).

Orthodox Jewish population

After the Holocaust and the destruction of its many semi-assimilated Jews, Antwerp became a major centre for Orthodox Jews. At present, about 15,000 Haredi Jews, mostly Hasidic, live in Antwerp. The city has three official Jewish Congregations: Shomrei Hadass, headed by Rabbi Dovid Moishe Lieberman, Machsike Hadass, headed by Rabbi Eliyahu Sternbuch (formerly Chief Rabbi Chaïm Kreiswirth) and the Portuguese Community Bne Moshe. Antwerp has an extensive network of synagogues, shops, schools and organizations, within the Machsike Hadas community. Significant Hasidic movements in Antwerp include Pshevorsk, based in Antwerp, as well as branches of Satmar, Belz, Bobov, Ger, Skver, Klausenburg and several others. Rabbi Chaim Kreiswirth, chief rabbi of the Machsike Hadas community, who died in 2003, was arguably one of the better known personalities to have been based in Antwerp. An attempt to have a street named after him has received the support of the Town Hall and is in the process of being implemented.[citation needed]

Missions to seafarers

A number of Christian missions to seafarers are based in Antwerp, notably on the Italiëlei. These include the Mission to Seafarers, British & International Sailors’ Society, the Finnish Seamen's Mission, the Norwegian Sjømannskirken and the Apostleship of the Sea. They provide cafeterias, cultural and social activities as well as religious services.

International relations

Twin towns — sister cities

The following places are twinned with or sister cities to Antwerp:

Partnerships

Within the context of development cooperation, Antwerp is also linked to:

Notable people from Antwerp

Born in Antwerp

Abraham Ortelius.
Hendrik Conscience

Lived in Antwerp

Joachim Patinir.
Wenceslas Hollar.

Specific areas in Antwerp

  • Den Dam – an area in northern Antwerp
  • Linkeroever - an area on the left bank of the Scheldt with a lot of apartment buildings
  • Meir – Antwerp's largest shopping street
  • Seefhoek - an area in north-east Antwerp, situated around the Stuyvenbergplein
  • Van Wesenbekestraat – the Chinatown of Antwerp
  • Zuid – the south of Antwerp
  • Zurenborg

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Statistics Belgium; Population de droit par commune au 1 janvier 2008 (excel-file) Population of all municipalities in Belgium, as of 1 January 2008. Retrieved on 2008-10-19.
  2. ^ Statistics Belgium; De Belgische Stadsgewesten 2001 (pdf-file) Definitions of metropolitan areas in Belgium. The metropolitan area of Antwerp is divided into three levels. First, the central agglomeration (agglomeratie) with 715,301 inhabitants (2008-01-01). Adding the closest surroundings (banlieue) gives a total of 955,338. And, including the outer commuter zone (forensenwoonzone) the population is 1,190,769. Retrieved on 2008-10-19.
  3. ^ Brabo Antwerpen 1 (centrum) / Antwerpen (Dutch)
  4. ^ a b Room, Adrian (1997-08-01). Placenames of the World. McFarland & Company. p. 32. ISBN 0786401729. http://www.amazon.com/Placenames-World-Meanings-Countries-Territories/dp/0786401729. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  5. ^ Antwerp Tourist Information - Meredith Booney, "The name 'Antwerp' has been linked to the word "aanwerp" (alluvial mound), which was the geographical feature in the early settlement period in this place".
  6. ^ "Antwerp" Britannica
  7. ^ (Braudel 1985 p. 143.)
  8. ^ a b Dunton, Larkin (1896). The World and Its People. Silver, Burdett. p. 163. 
  9. ^ Boxer Charles Ralph, The Dutch seaborne empire, 1600-1800, p. 18, Taylor & Francis, 1977 ISBN 0091310512, 9780091310516 Google books
  10. ^ Dunton, Larkin (1896). The World and Its People. Silver, Burdett. p. 164. 
  11. ^ Antwerp timeline 1300-1399
  12. ^ Antwerp timeline 1400-1499
  13. ^ Braudel, Fernand The Perspective of the World, 1985
  14. ^ a b Antwerp timeline 1500-1599
  15. ^ Description of circumstances around the French Fury, see chapter 'Declaration of independence' in article 'William the Silent'
  16. ^ Antwerp timeline 1600-1699
  17. ^ Antwerp timeline 1700-1799
  18. ^ Antwerp timeline 1800-1899
  19. ^ Antwerp timeline 1900-1999
  20. ^ Emporis. Retrieved October 23, 2006.
  21. ^ "Barcelona internacional - Ciutats agermanades" (in Spanish). © 2006-2009 Ajuntament de Barcelona. http://w3.bcn.es/XMLServeis/XMLHomeLinkPl/0,4022,229724149_257215678_1,00.html. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 

References

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Antwerp (Dutch: Antwerpen) [1] is a major destination of Belgium in the region of Flanders. The overwhelming friendliness of the people of Antwerp and their innate penchant for good food and good living, combined with their low stress lifestyle, makes it a desirable and relaxing place to visit. Renowned for being the "world's leading diamond city", more than 70% of all diamonds are traded in Antwerp. The Diamond Market is the hub of the economic section in Belgium. More than 85% of the world’s rough diamonds, 50% of cut diamonds, and 40% of industrial diamonds are traded in the city.

Antwerp Market Square
Antwerp Market Square

Understand

The origins of Antwerp comes from "aan de werpe", which is Dutch for "at the throw", referring to where the river throws its sand. The name also has a funny anecdote saying it comes from "Hand werpen", which translated is "throwing (a) hand(s)". In the official flag, the castle "het Steen" and the hand of Antwerp are shown.

In the 16th century, Antwerp was one of the most important financial centers of the world, where traders from all over Europe and Asia sold and bought their goods. After the siege of Antwerp in 1585 by the Spanish, this role as a financial center was taken over by Amsterdam. Nevertheless, since the 19th century and especially the 20th century, Antwerp has made a serious economic comeback. It is the second largest city in Belgium, after Brussels, and it has a major European port.

Due to its long and culturally rich history, the city of Antwerp houses many interesting historical buildings from different historical periods, as well as a lot of interesting museums. Recently it has become a trendy city, attracting a lot of Flemish and foreign artists, writers, intellectuals, and actors. This is reflected in the city's many trendy bars and shops. Antwerp is a city with many faces. While it may not be as historically preserved as other Flemish medieval cities, like Bruges or Ghent, it is a very dynamic city, offering a perfect mix of history and present-day modern life.

  • Antwerp airport, ANR — There are a few airlines serving this airport. Most flights are with CityJet (formerly VLM Airlines), catering to business travelers. Flights go to London, Liverpool, Jersey, and Manchester in the United Kingdom. There is a regular bus to the center and a taxi costs around €10.
  • National Airport Zaventem (Brussels) — Every hour there is a direct bus to and from this airport which costs €10 and has two stops in Antwerp at Hotel Crowne Plaza and in the city center, in front of Central Station. Taking the train from Zaventem is also an option to arrive in Antwerp (tickets at around €7, change trains in Brussels-North). It takes 45 min to 1 hr to reach Zaventem airport from Antwerp. On weekends, this could extend to an extra 30 minutes.
  • Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. The hourly Amsterdam - Brussels train connects Schiphol Airport directly with Antwerp Central station in around 1 hr 50 minutes. Book through Belgian Railways (SNCB/NMBS) [2] as this only takes 4-5 minutes longer than the Thalys [3] train and is usually much cheaper.

By train

There are good train connections to and from the National Airport Zaventem (Brussels). International trains from France and the Netherlands stop in Antwerp—central and Antwerpen—Berchem. To plan your trip, you can consult the website of the NMBS [4] for national and international travels.

By bus

Antwerp has Eurolines (at Rooseveltplaats) [5] and Ecolines (at Berchem station square) [6] offices with buses coming from all over Europe.

  • Amandus Atheneum.
  • Brederode
  • Dam Eilandje.
  • Diamant Stadspark.
  • Haringrode Zurenborg.
  • Justitie Harmonie.
  • Kiel.
  • Linkeroever.
  • Schoonbroek Luchtbal.
  • Stadhuis St. Jacob Hessenhuis.
  • St. Andries Bourla.
  • Stuivenberg.
  • Tentoonstelling Den Brandt.
  • Zuid Museum.

Public transportation

The public transportation company De Lijn [7] has a dense network of buses, trams, and pre-metro connections in the city and wide area around it. You can buy cards of €8 (10 fares) at fixed points in town or buy them inside buses. If you don't have a card you pay more inside the bus (€1.70 per fare). For one fare, you can ride up to an hour within the entire city center limits. If you want to travel out of the city center you have to pay more for the extra zones travelled. The central public transportation point is the Franklin Roosevelt plaats, near the central train station. Most buses leave from there or from the train station.

The trams and pre-metro (underground tram) also cross through the whole town.

Taxi and cars

Taxis are available, but they can be quite expensive. They await customers at specific locations around town (waving your hand will seldom work) like the Groenplaats or the railway station. You can recognize these places by an orange TAXI sign. The prices are fixed in the taximeter.

Driving in Antwerp is not as difficult as many big cities in the world, but crossroads can seem very chaotic for foreigners. There are few free parking spaces, but many spaces where you have to pay (on the street or in underground car parks). The underground car parks are well-signposted. The prices are typically €2 per hour.

There are many one-way roads, that can make it difficult to get to a specific place. Try to park your car as close as possible and go on foot.

Bicycle

The city has many special areas for cyclists. Most one-way roads can be accessed both ways. It's very easy and comfortable. Make sure to lock your bike to a fixed object, however, or it will be stolen! Around town there are a few places that are specially prepared for hosting bicycles for free, like at the Groenplaats.

Bicycles can be rented at several places in town like Ligfiets, Windroos, or Fietsdokter (verschransingsstraat).

On foot

Most things to see are near or within the Boulevards, the half-moon of avenues where there were once 16th Century city-walls. This old town center, with a diameter of about 1.5 km can be walked, but there is excellent public transport.

Rubens House, Garden view
Rubens House, Garden view
Plantin Moretus Library
Plantin Moretus Library
  • Rubenshuis, +32 (0)3 201 1555. Wapper 9-11. Rubens' house is now a museum of his life and artwork. Entrance fee: €6, Students under 26 €1, other students free. Free audio guide (recommended). Bring light earphones to plug in to the audio guide.
  • Plantin Moretus Museum, +32 (0)3 221 1450 or +32 (0)3 221 1451. The home of 16th century bookbinder and printer Christoffel Plantin. Regarded as one of the finest museums dedicated to printing in the world. Its extensive collections of important books and printing presses along with its role in spearheading the technology of printing have seen it added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
  • Antwerp Zoo [8] — One of the oldest zoos in the world, with over 4000 animals and lots of 19th century design and architecture.
  • Cathedral of Our Lady, (Onze Lieve Vrouwekathedraal). One of the most impressive and largest Gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe, built in 1351 it stands over 400 ft tall. It also houses some of Rubens' most famous paintings.
  • Carolus Borromeus Church — Unlike the cathedral, this is a Baroque church. With a safe and minimal exterior, you would not know the beautiful decorations (done by Rubens' studio) are inside. Located on the picturesque square Conscienceplein.
  • City Hall/Old Market Square, (Stadhuis/Grote Markt). This is the historical center of town. The market square is surrounded by the typical medieval guild houses you can find in most Flemish historical towns. The city hall is designed in special architectural style with a combination between Gothic and early Renaissance. This style is almost exclusively found in this region of Europe.
  • Vleeshuis — Literally, this is the "Meat house". It was built as the guild hall for the butchers. Every day tonnes of meat switched owners here. The building is famous for the original masonry and is made to resemble stacks of bacon (switching between white stones and red bricks).
  • Het Steen (The Stone) — This is a rather small medieval castle on the banks of the river Schelde. It used to function as a city fortification and now houses a naval museum. It is the starting point of the Wandelterrassen, a scenic boardwalk with a cafe/restaurant at either end.
  • Boerentoren (Farmers' tower) — Now called "KBC-tower" after the company that owns it, this skyscraper (97m) in the historical center of town is said to be the oldest one on the European continent. It was built at the beginning of the 1930s. It is located at the end of the Meir shopping street. There is an observation deck on the 25th floor (6E entry including an exhibition downstairs), from which you get fantastic views of the city, including the nearby Cathedral. The tower is renowned for its typical art-deco sculptures. The term skyscraper is a little bit irrelevant if you compare it to other buildings that were erected on the American Continent, for example the Empire State Building in New York, built in the same period, has 381m.
  • Bourla theatre — 19th century neo-classicist theater building. Charming from the outside and even nicer if you manage to get in for a theater show or a concert. It houses a spectacular pastry salon inside the large cupola above the theater itself. Great place to have tea with cake or waffles, of course.
  • Red Light District — Like other cities such as Amsterdam and Hamburg, Antwerp also has its own red light district. It's pretty small and right in the centre of town (near Falconplein). If you want to visit, consider going during the day. Although it's not as bad as it sounds, the district might be a little less safe at night. If you intend to be a patron of the Red Light District, be wary of women who beckon you towards their kamers and invite you in without discussing a price. In many cases, these women will charge a greatly inflated rate once they have you inside their kamer. It is also worth being wary of beggars in the Red Light District. While few of these are particularly hostile, they can be bothersome and should be ignored.
  • Diamond District — This is the district south and southwest of the central station. As the name already indicates, this is an area where you will find countless jewellery shops, as well as the Antwerp Diamond Exchange, arguably the most important financial centre of the world's diamond industry. The district is also interesting from an ethnic and cultural perspective, since the diamond industry is for at least 50% in the hands of the city's Jews. Antwerp has a rather large population of Jews (about 50,000 people), a lot of them Orthodox.
  • Aquatopia [9] — Reasonable aquarium in the basement of the Astrid Park Plaza hotel, tickets also available from the Zoo.
  • The hidden street Vlaeykensgang, which connects Hoogstraat, Oude Koornmarkt and Pelgrimsstraat. It is a real street, but only accessible through unassuming medieval front doors in the streets. The medieval equivalent of a gated community. It now houses nice, but informal restaurants and chic, discrete houses. A must see!
  • The Antwerp Ruien, you can now take a guided tour of the underground city of Antwerp [10]
  • The Begijnhof (beguinage)[11] — A sort of medieval monastery for women. The well-kept gardens are great photo opportunities.

South of Antwerp

Since the restoration a couple of years ago, the south of the city is known as the trendy part. The centre of this piece of the city is a huge square called 'de gedempte zuiderdokken' which simply means, 'the filled-up southern docks'. In the sixties, this was an abandoned trade dock. They filled up the dock in an attempt to expand the city. The high crime rate in the region made it a very cheap place to live. This was a blessing for the local art world, which started to flourish, making the region trendy and safe over the years. Today, it is known as a "yuppie stronghold".

  • MUHKA, +32 (0)3 260 99 99 (), [12]. Museum of contemporary art.  edit
  • Fotography Museum, +32 03 242 93 00 (fax: +32 03 242 93 10), [13]. Renovated in 2004.  edit
  • Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten (Fine Arts Museum), +32'' (0)3 238 7809, [14]. Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten boasts of an excellent collection of paintings from the 15th century right up to the 20th century. The museum's permanent collection has masters such as Peter Paul Rubens, Brueghel, Van Eyck, Anthony Van Dyck, Jacob Jordaens, and James Ensor to name a few.  edit
  • Zuiderpershuis, +32 (0)3 248 7077, [15]. It is on the "kaaien" and is a center for intercultural art.  edit
  • Het Muntplein. A place where graffiti artists can make artwork without being chased by police. There are often very nice creations. Graffiti contests occur on a regular basis.  edit
  • Palace of Justice (Justitiepaleis). There are actually two of these. The old one is a 19th century red brick building on the Britselei. The new one is a dominant, modern, white building in the south of Antwerp (Bolivarplaats). You can hardly miss it once you're there. The architect of this building was Richard Rogers, who also built the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Millennium Dome in London.  edit
  • Zurenborg neighborhood is a little off the beaten track. This neighborhood in the south east of Antwerp (near the railway station Antwerpen-Berchem, look for 'Cogels-Osylei' on the map) is known for its eclectic, sometimes rather bizarre 19th century architecture. Consider taking a tram or bicycle to get there.
  • Middelheim Park — The center of Antwerp is not very big, and once you cross the ring road, you will mainly see suburbs. There are some nice parks outside the ring road The Middelheim Park is one of them. It houses a permanent open-air exhibition of modern sculpture, including work by famous artists such as Rodin, Hans Arp, Henry Moore, and many others.
  • Port of Antwerp — Take a tour of one of the largest ports in the world. Largest port in Europe and 5th largest in the world. 2.5 hours long. €12 for adults, €10 for students.
  • Ghostly Nighttime Tour, (Antwerp Ghostwalk) [16] — Take the ghost tour and learn about the dark history of Antwerp.
  • Zomer van Antwerpen (Summer of Antwerp,), +32 (0)3 224 8528 [17]. A great festival that takes places during the whole summer in the whole city. Cheap or free activities such as dancing, theater, performances, circus, movies in open air, and much more are organized. Reserving is often a must (especially on free activities).
  • Pelgrom, +32 (0)3 234 0809 [18]. This building combines both an impressive bar in the basement, plus the 'poortershuis', which is a replica of the house of businessmen in Antwerp during the 17th century.
  • Antwerp by Bike — Discover Antwerp with a bike. The inner city is perhaps too crowded, but the green outskirts are really worth visiting. (For bike rental, see [19]; for guided bike tours, see [20] [21] or [22])
  • pedestrian tunnel
    pedestrian tunnel
    Take the pedestrian tunnel (St.Jansvliet) to the left bank of the river Schelde. On the left bank, you have a beautiful view on the city center, so make sure you bring your camera!
  • The main shopping area is the Meir, a street that stretches out from the Keyserlei (close to the central station) to the Groenplaats. It is one of the most famous shopping streets in Belgium. The streets Hopland and Schuttershofstraat are the shopping terrain of the rich and famous with exclusive fashion shops like Cartier, Hermes, Scapa, Armani, etc. The Huidevettersstraat, Nationalestraat, and Kammenstraat (all located close to the Meir) are also very interesting shopping streets to visit.
  • Purchasing a diamond at one of the many tourist jewelry shops around the Central station can be an unpleasant experience. Like any big diamond city in world, there are many tourist trap diamond shops around the actual diamond district centre, though it is fair to say that if you are prepared to barter you can purchase jewellery here for significantly less than in countries such as the UK. Wealthy diamond buyers should do their investigative shopping online prior to visiting Antwerp. If you're less wealthy and someone asks you to bring back some diamonds from Antwerp, buy diamond-shaped chocolate pralines at e.g. Burie (Korte Gasthuisstraat 3) or Del Rey (Appelmansstraat 5).
  • Trendy shopping can be done in the Kammenstraat and surroundings. In this area, you will also find the Fashion Museum [23] and many shops of famous Antwerp fashion designers, such as Walter van Beirendonck and Dries van Noten.
  • The Kloosterstraat has many antique shops, with often bizarre items for sale.
  • Chinatown can be found about 300m north of the Central Station (see also Eat). A lot of Japanese, Korean, and Chinese products can be found here.
  • Weekend Markets take place on the Theaterplein Square (follow Wapper or Meistraat south from the Meir) in front of the Stadsschouwburg theatre. The markets are very popular with stalls offering everything from food (fruit and veg, meat, fish, nuts, cheese ethnic specialities) to household goods to bicycles to antiques to clothes. Sunday tends to see a lot more stalls compared to Saturday. Take a break from browsing at the stall at the centre of the square, where you can buy a cheese roll with a glass of chilled cava to wash it down, most convivial!
  • At Ploegstraat 25 you can find a "give-away shop", where you can bring and take stuff as you please without any monetary interaction. Open M-F 2PM-6PM.

Learn

Antwerp has several colleges and a university.

  • University of Antwerp [24].
  • Hogeschool Antwerpen [25].
  • Lessius Hogeschool.
  • Plantijn Hogeschool [26].
  • Karel de Grote Hogeschool [27].
  • Antwerp Maritime Academy.
  • As with most Flemish towns, you can find many "fritkotten" in the city. These are places where you can buy French fries and other fried food for a reasonable price. They usually have no place to sit so you must eat standing.
  • Pitta/Shoarma — These shops are often open through the day and are the last ones to close.
  • People often go eat a "smos", a bread with several layers of garniture in it. The name refers to the mess you make when trying to eat it. You can find them in several stores like Panos or Foodmaker. The most famous "smoskes" according to students are found at "Jean-Pierre". You can find it opposite to the university (Grote Kauwenberg 41).
  • Thai Thai Simple +32 477 292 554 [28]. Amerikalei 72. Fresh authentic thai food in an old mansion on Amerikalei.
  • Sombat +32 3 226 21 90 [29]. Vleeshuisstraat 1. Thai haute cuisine
  • De Keyserlei (the street that runs west from Central Station) is a street with a varied choice of restaurants. The side streets on the north side of De Keyserlei offer even more options, with Lebanese, South-African, Mexican, Italian and Vietnamese (to name but a few) restaurants all rubbing shoulders with each other. With so many restaurants in a small area the prices tend to be pretty competitive.
  • Chinatown takes up a couple of streets on the north side of Koningin-Astrid-plein (the large square to the north of Central Station). Look for the 2 lions guarding the entrance to Van Wesenbekestraat. Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai and Nepalese retaurants are here as well as lots of Chinese options.
  • Da Giovani (Jan Blomstraat 3-5-7-8), +32 (0)3 226 7450 [30]. A cheap Italian restaurant. It is popular among students, because of their 20% discount. A second "Da Giovanni" is on the Keyserlei, near the central station.
  • Tropicos (at Tabakvest and Hopland), +32 (0)3 231 9964 [31]. Known for its lively South American atmosphere, caipirinha cocktails, and tasteful Brazilian Mexican kitchen.
  • Wok & Tandoor, +32 (0)3 248 9595 [32]. A show-restaurant serving wok and tandoori food. It is prepared in front of you by cooks in a spectacular way. It's an all-you-can-eat buffet with very reasonable prices. It is in the south of Antwerp close to the new Courthouse.
  • Govinda's Garden (Amerikalei 184) — The restaurant of the Krishnas. They serve healthy macrobiotic food for a small price. Only open in the evenings.
  • The Hilton Hotel has a restaurant overlooking the Groenplaats.
  • Rooden Hoed Corner of Oude Koornmarkt and Tempelstraat. The oldest restaurant in Antwerp, specializing in seafood, especially mussels. Very popular with locals, but few tourists, so you know it's good. Mains starting at €20.
  • Mata Mata & Pili Pili (African Restaurant and Cocktail Bar), Hoogstraat 44, 2000 Antwerpen, 03 213 19 28, [33]. from 5pm 7 days. Lively and colourful restaurant with a range of dishes from across the African continent and a particular focus on West African cuisine. Huge portions!  edit

Drink

Wherever you are in Antwerp, you will always be near a pub or another drinking facility. Not surprising for a city that has the most pubs per capita in the world. In Antwerp pubs do not have a closing hour.

  • Den Engel — Most famous traditional cafe in Antwerp. Situated at Grote Markt.
  • De Vagant — A famous Belgian cafe serving about 300 kinds of Jenever.
  • De Muze — A jazz café located in Melkmarkt. Relaxed atmosphere and live (jazz) music played on a regular basis. Beyond typical Belgian beers, coffee lovers can enjoy a true Italian Espresso or, if willing to drink something bigger, a "Koffie Verkeerd".
  • Caffénation — Most friendly bar in Antwerp. They have very nice specialized coffee creations and a cozy outdoor with lots of green. Good music. Say hi from "TheKitt" for a special, double shot cappuccino.
  • Kulminator, Vleminckveld 32. Kind of off the beaten path, this bar has a neat hole in the wall atmosphere and an amazing selection of beer, (around 700 beers, with 200-300 aged over 10 years) ranging from expensive to about average. All in all, a great time, and a great value.  edit
  • Paeters Vaetje, (in the Cathedral Square). Here you can order more than one hundred different kinds of beer. In summertime, you can also sit outside.
  • De Pelgrom, (Pelgrimsstraat). A cafe that is in an old underground storage place right next to the vlaaikesgang with medieval finishes.
  • Kassa4, located in the student neighborhood, on the Ossenmarkt. Very popular student pub with a good choice of alternative music. Can be very crowded at times.
  • Den Hovenier — Typical Antwerp pub near the Sint-Jacob Church.
  • Café Beveren, near the river. Enjoy the automatic Decap Organ.
  • Stanny — Non-smoking café close to the station of Antwerp-Berchem.
  • Petrol [34] — The most trendy club and concert venue at the moment. Located on a deserted industrial terrain south of the city, somewhat away from the city center. You might need a bicycle or a taxi ride to get there, unless you don't mind a long walk.
  • Noxx [35] — The most famous and exclusive club of Antwerp with the biggest names in the DJ world performing. You can find it close to the Kinepolis Antwerp ('Metropolis'), just outside the center of Antwerp.
  • De Koninck (commonly called "Bolleke") — Beer that is brewed in Antwerp.
  • Antwerpse handjes — Little biscuits or chocolates in the shape of a hand. Invented by a Jewish baker in 1932.
  • Elixir d'Anvers — A liquor based on plants.
  • The Antwerp Six — Clothes designed by Ann Demeulemeester, Walter Van Beirendonck, Dirk Bikkembergs, Dries Van Noten, Marina Yee en Dirk Van Saene.
  • Scoutel [36]. A scouting youth hostel that is open to everyone and offers affordable accommodations in the center of the city, just around the corner of the central train station.
  • Camping Vogelzang, Vogelzanglaan 7-9. Located at 10 minutes by tram from the heart of the city and perfect for low-budget travelers.
  • Heksenketel[37], +32 (0)3 226.71.64. A hostel close to the city center with very welcoming and homely atmosphere. Dorm beds available only (no single or double, etc) in rooms between four to eight beds.
  • Ibis Hotel Antwerpen Centrum[38], (+32)3/2318830. Good location in the city center, near the Stadschouwburg theatre and the Vogeltjesmarkt. Not very exciting but you won't get any unpleasant surprises with this chain. Don't pay (14 Euros!) for breakfast in the hotel as there are plenty of cafes in the immediate area and a market on the Theaterplein square in front of the hotel Saturday and Sunday mornings. If you're a very light sleeper try to get a room on the side that doesn't face onto the Theaterplein as the market traders start setting up pretty early!
  • Elzenveld, Lange Gasthuisstraat 45, [39]. A former hospital that advertises itself as a conference center, but also offers accommodation.
  • Antwerp Mabuhay Lodgings, Zurenborg, Draakstraat 32 [40]. Bed and Breakfast, guesthouse in the cozy neighborhood of Antwerp. Rooms available for two. Apartments and studios available for short term staying visitors, expats, or students.

Contact

Some cafés have free wireless internet, but don't write it on the door for whatever reason. Some will charge you for it...

  • McDonald's has free internet.
  • Poolplanet [41] — Six computers, €1 for half an hour. Printing is possible.

Get out

Since Flanders (and Belgium) is not big, it's very easy to take the train and go visit another city.

Belgium

  • Bruges (Brugge) — Very nice medieval town. Often called "Venice of the North", because of the many canals that flow through and under it. Well worth an overnight stay, since it is most romantic at night and very safe.
  • Brussels — The capital of Belgium and some say, the capital of Europe. Multicultural and multilingual. Unfortunately, some of the city's historic (medieval) center was destroyed at the end of the 19th century when Belgium seceded from the Netherlands and Brussels was made capital of the new country. Nonetheless, Brussels is known as a city of "hidden gems," where you can turn a street corner in a less-than-breathtaking area and come face-to-face with an opulent and unexpected Art Deco or Art Nouveau building. Its popularity with tourists in recent years has been steadily increasing.
  • Ghent — A medieval town a bit like Bruges, with more emphasis on cathedrals and other big buildings. Great center of medieval paintings exhibited in and around the cathedral of Sint-Baafs.
  • Namur — The regional capital of Wallonia.
  • Leuven — One of the only cities in Belgium that is nearly as lively as Antwerp or Brussels is obviously this college town (except for the summer months). One of the world's oldest universities is here. Many hotels also cater to businessmen who find Brussels too dangerous or too expensive.

Getting to other places in Flanders or Wallonia is relatively easy from the bigger Belgian cities, especially from Antwerp, Ghent, and Brussels.

The Netherlands

  • Amsterdam — You can take a direct train to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. There is about one train an hour and it will take you about two hours to get there. Amsterdam is well-known for its grachten, many bicycles, and coffee-shops.
  • Rotterdam — You can take a direct train to Rotterdam in the Netherlands. There is about one train an hour and it will take you about one hour to get there. Rotterdam is well-known for its harbor.
  • Den Bosch — You can go by train to this medieval city (change trains in Roosendaal).
  • Zeeland — Where the Schelde reaches the ocean. It's about one hour by train and you will have to change in Roosendaal.

France

  • Lille — This is very famous among others for having the largest bookstore in Europe ("Le furet du Nord"). Lille is in the North of France just off the Belgian border. The train ride is pretty long (sometimes over two hours) making it less easy for a day trip. The Dutch (Flemish) name is Rijsel and the town is not to be confused with another Flemish town called, Lille in Dutch!
  • Paris — With the Thalys, you can be there in about two hours.

Stay safe

Most parts of Antwerp are pretty safe. Some neighborhoods are to be avoided in the evening, especially the area around De Coninckplein and the neighborhoods of Borgerhout, Seefhoek and the Schipperskwartier. Nevertheless more recently the city has put in tremendous effort to give the streets a face lift. These neighbourhoods have a very lively atmosphere, so definitely worth a visit during the day. But as allways, watch out for suspicious objects and people. Moreover it is of utmost importance to lock you bike properly if left outside on the street throughout the city. If you need police assistance the emergency number is 101. If you need a non-urgent police inquiry or the most nearby police station you can dial 0800/12312 for free. Most police officers in Antwerp are friendly and professional in approach.

Like in the rest of Europe, the number centralized for emergencies (ambulance, police, and firemen) is 112.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

There is more than one meaning of Antwerp discussed in the 1911 Encyclopedia. We are planning to let all links go to the correct meaning directly, but for now you will have to search it out from the list below by yourself. If you want to change the link that led you here yourself, it would be appreciated.


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

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Pronunciation

Proper noun

Antwerp

  1. A province of Flanders, Belgium.
  2. The capital city of the province of Antwerp.

Derived terms

Translations


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