Antwerp is the second most populous city after Brussels. It is located in the northern part of the country. It is situated on the right bank of the river Scheldt, that empties into the North Sea. The Antwerp harbor is the second largest in Europe after Rotterdam. Antwerp is famous not only for the diamond industry, but also for the Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens, who lived there. That is why the city is also called the "city of Rubens". It has also nickname "Jerusalem of the West", because of the large Jewish community that have lived here since the 16th century.
Accommodation in Antwerp
In Antwerp, we offer about 150 hotels, guesthouses and apartments. If you expect, that there are many five-star hotels in the city, surprisingly there is none. Even so you have a choice of a number of luxury hotel brands such as Hilton Antwerp Hotel, Radisson Blu Astrid, Crowne Plaza Antwerp or Mercure Antwerpen Centrum Opera. Most of these hotels are located in the heart of the diamond district. Cheaper accommodation offer in Antwerp Guesthouses (B & B) and apartments (private accommodation). Very popular are these pensions: De Witte Nijl, B & B Koto, B & B Suites @ FEEK or pension Yellow Submarine. The most popular hotels in Antwerp include De Keyser Hotel or Hotel Banks.
History od Antwerp
Antwerp history dates back to the beginning of our millennium. Great development and economic boom was started in the first half of the 14th century. When the navigable channel Zwin in Bruges became constipated at the beginning of the 16th century, most of the trade moved to Antwerp. The town thus became a major commercial and financial center of Europe. In the second half of the 16th century, Antwerp became the focus of the politico-religious struggle between the Protestant north and the Catholic south (Spain). These rifts have resulted in the closure of the river Scheldt (1585) for business and this meant a little economic disasterfor Antwerp. The river Scheldt remained closed for almost two centuries, and its navigability was renewed in 1863. Since then, the Antwerp has started to recover economic growth. Interruption of prosperity occurred only during both world wars. Today, Antwerp is the major European port, major stock of rough diamonds and cultural center.
How to get to Antwerp
If you wish to reach Antwerp by plane, you can use one of the low cost airlines flying to Brussels. From Brussels airport, a bus runs every hour and will take you to the center of Antwerp. Public transport consists of buses and trams. Some of these tram lines are routed underground and are referred to as metro. Single tickets for urban transport can be purchased at newsstands, shops or tourist offices.
Landmarks and attractions in Antwerp
There are lots of sights and attractions in Antwerp. The historical buildings are dominated by a masterpiece of Gothic architecture - the Cathedral of the Virgin Mary. As it is located on the waterfront of the river Scheldt and has impressive parameters (height 117 m, length 65 m), it is visible from several kilometers. South from the cathedral you can find the heart of the city, the former marketplace Grote Markt. This square with an irregular shape is dominated by the Renaissance town hall, surrounded by houses from the 16th and 17th centuries. The oldest building in Antwerp is 800 years old castle t 'Steen (meaning "stone").
Famous personalities of Antwerp
Antwerp is connected to many prominent painters. The most famous is Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640). You can visit his house in Antwerp. In the past, the house was often visited by other leading painters as a portrait painter Anthony van Dyck, Frans Snyders and Jan Brueghel. Although the house looks from the outside like it is not worth a visit, the tour is really recommended. Ruben’s other paintings are on display in the Museum Plantin - Moretus. Also, the famous Czech Baroque engraver and draftsman Václav Hollar lived in Antwerp for some time.
Diamonds and Antwerp
Antwerp is also called “City of diamonds”. Diamond cutters settled here during the 16th century. Most of the world's diamond production comes from Antwerp. There is also a Museum of diamonds in the city that hosts an exhibition of these beautiful stones. If you are interested in buying, come to Zurenborg district, which is lined with jewellery stores.
Beer and Antwerp
As well as for example the Czech Republic is known for good beer, the same can be said about Belgium. Throughout Belgium there are brewed about 1,000 beers and, without exaggeration, we can say that each beer is unique. You can choose from dark, semi-dark, light or large quantities of fruit beers. In Antwerp, the beer is brewed in the brewery De Koninck (also known as "Bolleke").
Sport in Antwerp
Antwerp is the only place in Belgium that hosted Summer Olympics.. It was in 1920 as the first Games after the 1st World War. In 2013 Antwerp hosted the World Championships in artistic gymnastics.