Top 5 of Antwerp
Photo Credit: Filip Coutois
Onze-Leive-Vrouwekatheraal (Antwerp Cathedral)
This cathedral boasts to be the largest and most beautiful cathedral in the Low Countries of Europe. It look over 170 years to build and was built for the wealthy guilds. It suffered fire damage in both the 16th and 18th centuries, but yet it still houses a number of treasures which include the work of Rubens. Its 404ft spire is one of Antwerp’s most famous landmarks. The spire alone took over 100 years to build and is a fine example of gothic design.
Arguably one of the most beautiful squares in Western Europe, the main square of Antwerp offers its visitors stunning architecture surrounding the square. The town hall, the Stadhuis dominates the square dating back to the mid-16th century. Visitors say the building depicts a smile due to the grand horizontals offset by the upward curve of its roof. Guided tours are available to look around this building, but there is an administration charge.
The square provides a great opportunity for visitors to sit and enjoy a locally produced beverage. During the summer months the square gets particularly busy so keeping a close eye on your belongings is essential as is making sure you have good holiday insurance. There is also an unusual foundation inside the square sculptured by Jef Lambeaux. The fountain is positioned off centre and its water spills out directly onto to cobbles. Legend has it that a roman soldier, Brabo freed the port of Antwerp through defeating a giant and threw the giants severed hand into the water. The foundation is a reminder to the people of Antwerps freedom.
Having produced over 2000 paintings in his lifetime, Rubens a court painter was one of the most influential painters of the 16th century. His work includes the famous painting ‘The Decendent from the Cross’ which can be seen inside Antwerps Cathedral.
Rubens lived in a large house in Antwerp which was restored after years of neglect in 1937. Even if you aren’t interested in the life of Rubens, his house is a fine example of what a 16th century house may have looked like at that time. The tour of the house allows its visitors to see its art gallery, the dining room where there hangs a rare self portrait of the artist, as well as his own semi-circular museum, bedrooms and of course Rubins own studio. Well worth a visit.
Antwerp’s ZOO is one of the oldest and best-known zoos in Europe and is one of the oldest zoos in the world. Not only does it have a huge range of animals to look at, it also has beautiful buildings and gardens which are now listed as monuments. It was built back in 1843 where it was located just outside the city walls. Today, since the city has grown so much it size the zoo can now be found in the middle of town right next to central station. Today the Zoo not only acts as a tourist attraction, but it also hosts the Centre for Research and Conservation. The conservation of wildlife and their natural habitat is very important for the CRC. The centre also receives money from the Flemish Government to fund these projects.
MoMu Fashion Museum Antwerp
Founded on 21 September 2002, the MoMu Fashion Museum houses over 25,000 collections and fashion-related items from Belgium. It specifically focuses on contemporary designers from the 1980’s and 1990’s bridging the catwalk between yesterday and today’s fashion trends. MoMu manages to surprise visitors time and again with its creative use of space and mind blowing techniques for designing exhibitions.