Antwerp (/ˈæntwɜːrp/ ( listen), Dutch: Antwerpen
[ˈɑntʋɛrpə(n)] ( listen), French: Anvers
[ɑ̃vɛʁ(s)]) is a city in Belgium, and is the capital of Antwerp
province in Flanders. With a population of 520,504, it is the most
populous city proper in Belgium. Its metropolitan area houses around
1,200,000 people, coming in second behind Brussels.
Antwerp is on the River Scheldt, linked to the
North Sea by the
Westerschelde estuary. It is about 40 kilometres (25 mi) north of
Brussels, and about 15 kilometres (9 mi) from the Dutch border.
Port of Antwerp
Port of Antwerp is one of the biggest in the world, ranking second
in Europe and within the top 20 globally.
Antwerp was also
the place of the world's oldest stock exchange building, originally
built in 1531 and re-built in 1872, it has been derelict since
Antwerp has long been an important city in the Low Countries, both
economically and culturally, especially before the Spanish Fury (1576)
in the Dutch Revolt. The inhabitants of
Antwerp are nicknamed
Sinjoren, after the Spanish honorific señor or French seigneur,
"lord", referring to the Spanish noblemen who ruled the city in the
17th century. Today
Antwerp is a major trade and cultural centre,
and is the world's second most multi-cultural city (after Amsterdam)
home to 170 nationalities. It is also known as "the diamond
capital of the world" for its large diamond district. The city
hosted the 1920 Summer Olympics.
1.1 Origin of the name
1.3 16th century
1.4 Reformation era
1.5 Dutch revolt
1.6 17th–19th centuries
1.7 20th century
3 Buildings and landmarks
5.1 Historical population
5.2.1 Jewish community
5.2.2 Jain community
5.2.3 Armenian community
7.3 Public transportation
8.1 City council
8.2 Former mayors
10.2 Local products
10.3 Missions to seafarers
10.5 Music festivals
12 Higher education
13 International relations
13.1 Twin towns and sister cities
14 Notable people
14.1 Born in Antwerp
14.2 Lived in Antwerp
15 Select neighbourhoods
16 See also
18 Further reading
19 External links
See also: Timeline of Antwerp
Origin of the name
According to folklore, notably celebrated by a statue in front of the
town hall, the city got its name from a legend about a giant called
Antigoon who lived near the
Scheldt river. He extracted a toll from
passing boatmen, and for those who refused, he severed one of their
hands and threw it into the river. Eventually the giant was killed
by a young hero named Silvius 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), which has
evolved to today's warp.
A longstanding 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 (which is in fact
the same origin as Germanic waerpen). Note that the river Scheldt,
before a transition period between 600 and 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. However, many historians think it unlikely that there was a
large settlement which would be named 'Antverpia', but more something
like an outpost with a river crossing.
John Lothrop Motley
John Lothrop Motley argues, and so do a lot of Dutch
etymologists and historians, that Antwerp's name derives from "anda"
(at) and "werpum" (wharf) to give an 't werf (on the wharf, in the
same meaning as the current English wharf). Aan 't werp (at the warp)
is also possible. This "warp" (thrown ground) is a man-made hill or a
river deposit, high enough to remain dry at high tide, whereupon a
construction could be built that would remain dry. Another word for
werp is pol (dyke) hence polders (the dry land behind a dyke, that was
no longer flooded by the tide).
Alfred Michiels has suggested that derivations based on hand werpen,
Antverpia, "on the wharf", or "at the warp” lack historical backing
in the form of recorded past spellings of the placename. He points
instead to Dado’s Life of
St. Eligius (Vita Eligii) from the 7th
century, which records the form Andoverpis. He sees in it a Celtic
origin indicating “those who live on both banks”.
Antwerp allegedly had its origins in a Gallo-Roman vicus.
Excavations carried out in the oldest section near the Scheldt,
1952–1961 (ref. Princeton), produced pottery shards and fragments of
glass from mid-2nd century to the end of the 3rd century. The earliest
Antwerp dates from the 4th century.
In the 4th century,
Antwerp was first named, having been settled by
the Germanic Franks.
Antwerp 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 in
980, by the German emperor Otto II, a border province facing the
County of Flanders.
In the 11th century
Godfrey of Bouillon
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 Duke of Clarence, was born there in 1338.
Osias Beert the Elder, from Antwerp. Dishes with Oysters, Fruit, and
Wine, c. 1620/1625
After the silting-up of the
Zwin and the consequent decline of Bruges,
the city of Antwerp, then part of the Duchy of Brabant, grew in
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. Antwerp
became the sugar capital of Europe, importing the raw commodity from
Portuguese and Spanish plantations. The city attracted Italian and
German sugar refiners by 1550, and shipped their refined product to
Germany, especially Cologne. Moneylenders and financiers developed
a large business lending money all over Europe including the English
government in 1544–1574.
London bankers were too small to operate on
that scale, and
Antwerp had a highly efficient bourse that itself
attracted rich bankers from around Europe. After the 1570s the city's
banking business declined: England ended its borrowing in
Fernand Braudel states that
Antwerp became "the centre of the entire
international economy, something
Bruges had never been even at its
Antwerp was the richest city in Europe at this time.
Antwerp's golden age is tightly linked to the "Age of Exploration".
During the first half of the 16th century
Antwerp grew to become the
second-largest European city north of the Alps. 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. According to Luc-Normand Tellier
"It is estimated that the port of
Antwerp was earning the Spanish
crown seven times more revenues than the Americas."
Sack of Antwerp
Sack of Antwerp in 1576, in which about 7,000 people died.
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
Antwerp had a policy of toleration, which attracted a
large crypto-Jewish community composed of migrants from
By 1504, the Portuguese had established
Antwerp as one of their main
shipping bases, bringing in spices from Asia and trading them for
textiles and metal goods. The cities trade expanded to include cloth
Italy and Germany, wines from Germany,
France and Spain,
salt from France, and wheat from the Baltic. The cities skilled
workers processed soap, fish, sugar, and especially cloth. Banks
helped finance the trade, the merchants, and the manufacturers. The
city was a cosmopolitan center; its bourse opened in 1531, "To the
merchants of all nations." 
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. At the beginning of the 16th century Antwerp
accounted for 40% of world trade. The boom-and-bust cycles and
inflationary cost-of-living squeezed less-skilled workers. In the
century after 1541, the city's economy and population declined
dramatically The Portuguese merchants left in 1549, and there was much
less trade in English cloth. Numerous financial bankruptcies began
Antwerp as the major trading center
for the region.
View of the Pier of
Antwerp from the Vlaams Hoofd
The religious revolution of the Reformation erupted in violent riots
in August 1566, as in other parts of the Low Countries. 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
Eighty Years' War broke out in 1568, commercial trading between
Antwerp and the Spanish port of
Bilbao collapsed and became
impossible. On 4 November 1576, Spanish soldiers sacked the city
during the so-called Spanish Fury: 7,000 citizens were massacred, 800
houses were burnt down, and over £2 million sterling of damage
Subsequently, the city joined the
Union of Utrecht
Union of Utrecht in 1579 and 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. 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.
Antwerp and the river Scheldt, photochrom ca. 1890–1900
Antwerp with the frozen Scheldt" (1590) by Lucas van
The recognition of the independence of the United Provinces by the
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
Belgium formed part of the Kingdom of the United Netherlands
(1815 to 1830).
Antwerp had reached the lowest point in its
fortunes in 1800, and its population had sunk to under 40,000, when
Napoleon, realizing its strategic importance, assigned funds to
enlarge the harbour by constructing a new dock (still named the
Bonaparte Dock) and an access- lock and mole and deepening the Scheldt
to allow for larger ships to approach Antwerp. Napoleon hoped that
by making Antwerp's harbour the finest in Europe he would be able to
counter the Port of
London and hamper British growth. However, he was
defeated at the
Battle of Waterloo
Battle of Waterloo before he could see the plan
Antwerp, Belgium, from the left bank of the
Scheldt (c. 1890 –
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 the French Northern Army commanded by
Marechal Gerard. During this attack the town was further damaged. In
December 1832, after a gallant defence, Chassé made an honourable
surrender, ending the Siege of
Later that century, a double ring of
Brialmont Fortresses was
constructed some 10 km (6 mi) from the city centre, as
Antwerp was considered vital for the survival of the young Belgian
state. And in the last decade
Antwerp presented itself to the world
via a World's Fair attended by 3 million.
Results of German bombardment of Antwerp, October 1914
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. The Siege of
for 11 days, but the city was taken after heavy fighting by the German
Army, and the Belgians were forced to retreat westwards. Antwerp
remained under German occupation until the Armistice.
Antwerp hosted the 1920 Summer Olympics. During World War II, the city
was an important strategic target because of its port. It was occupied
Germany in May 1940 and liberated by the British 11th Armoured
Division on 4 September 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 Rheinbote, V-1 and
V-2 missiles were
fired (more V-2s than used on all other targets during the entire war
combined), causing severe damage to the city but failed to destroy the
port due to poor accuracy. After the war, Antwerp, which had already
had a sizeable Jewish population before the war, once again became a
major European centre of Haredi (and particularly Hasidic) Orthodox
A Ten-Year Plan for the port of
Antwerp (1956–1965) expanded and
modernized the port's infrastructure with national funding to build a
set of canal docks. The broader aim was to facilitate the growth of
Antwerp metropolitan region, which attracted new
industry based on a flexible and strategic implementation of the
project as a co-production between various authorities and private
parties. The plan succeeded in extending the linear layout along the
Scheldt river by connecting new satellite communities to the main
Starting in the 1990s,
Antwerp rebranded itself as a world-class
fashion centre. Emphasizing the avant-garde, it tried to compete with
London, Milan, New
York and Paris. It emerged from organized tourism
and mega-cultural events.
Districts of Antwerp.
Main article: Districts of Antwerp
The municipality comprises the city of
Antwerp proper and several
towns. It is divided into nine entities (districts):
In 1958 in preparation of the 10-year development plan for the Port of
Antwerp, the municipalities of
integrated into the city territory and lost their administrative
independence. During the 1983 merger of municipalities, conducted by
the Belgian government as an administrative simplification, the
municipalities of Berchem, Borgerhout, Deurne, Ekeren, Hoboken,
Wilrijk were merged into the city. At that time the city
was also divided into the districts mentioned above. Simultaneously,
districts received an appointed district council; later district
councils became elected bodies.
Buildings and landmarks
Antwerp City Hall
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 tallest 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
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
Hanseatic League on the northern quays, in 1891.[citation
needed] During World War II, the city also suffered considerable
damage by V-bombs, and in recent years, other noteworthy buildings
were demolished for new developments.
Antwerp Zoo opened in 1843 and is one of the oldest in the world.
Antwerp City Hall
Antwerp City Hall dates from 1565, and is built primarily in
Antwerp Central Station is a railway station designed by Louis
Delacenserie which was completed in 1905.
Cathedral of Our Lady. This church was begun in the 14th century and
finished in 1518. The church has four works by Rubens, viz. "The
Descent from the Cross", "The Elevation of the Cross", "The
Resurrection of Christ" and "The Assumption"
St. James' Church, is more ornate than the cathedral. It contains lots
of famous noble burials, amongst them a major part of the family of
The Church of St. Paul has a beautiful baroque interior. It is a few
hundred yards north of the Grote Markt
St. Andrew's Church
St. Charles Borromeo Church
Vleeshuis (Butchers' Hall) is a fine Gothic brick-built
building, situated a short distance to the North-West of the Grote
Plantin-Moretus Museum preserves the house of the printer Christoffel
Plantijn and his successor Jan Moretus
Saint-Boniface Church is an
Anglican church and headseat of the
archdeanery North-West Europe.
Boerentoren (Farmers' Tower) or KBC Tower, a 26-storey building built
in 1932, is the oldest skyscraper in Europe. It is the tallest
Antwerp and the second tallest structure after the
Cathedral of our Lady. The building was designed by Emiel van
Averbeke, R. Van Hoenacker and Jos Smolderen.
Royal Museum of Fine Arts
Rubenshuis is the former home and studio of Peter Paul Rubens
(1577–1640) in Antwerp. It is now a museum.
Rockox House is the former 17th century Residence of Nicolaas II
Rockox, lord Mayor of Antwerp.
Exchange or Bourse. The current building was built in 1872.
Law Courts, designed by the
Richard Rogers Partnership, Arup and VK
Studio, and opened by King Albert II, in April 2006.
This building is the antithesis of the heavy, dark court building,
designed by Joseph Poelaert, which dominates the skyline of Brussels.
The courtrooms sit on top of six fingers that radiate from an airy
central hall, and are surmounted by spires, which provide north light
and resemble oast houses or the sails of barges on the nearby River
Scheldt. It is built on the site of the old Zuid ("South") station, at
the end of a magnificent 1.5 kilometres (1 mile) perspective at the
southern end of Amerikalei. The road neatly disappears into an
underpass under oval Bolivarplaats to join the motorway ring. This
leaves peaceful surface access by foot, bicycle or tram (route 12).
The building's highest 'sail' is 51 m (167 ft) high, has a
floor area of 77,000 m2 (830,000 sq ft), and cost
Zurenborg, a late 19th century
Belle Époque neighbourhood, on the
Antwerp and Berchem, with many
Art Nouveau architectural
elements. The area counts as one of the most original Belle Époque
urban expansion areas in Europe.
Museum aan de Stroom
Den Botaniek or Antwerp's Botanical Garden, created in 1825. Located
in the city centre, at the Leopoldstraat, it covers an area of almost
Main article: Fortifications of Antwerp
Het Steen (literally: 'The Stone').
Antwerp was formerly a fortified city, hardly anything
remains of the former enceinte, only some remains of the city wall can
be seen near the
Vleeshuis museum at the corner of Bloedberg and
Burchtgracht. A replica of a castle named Steen has been partly
rebuilt near the Scheldt-quais in the 19th century. Antwerp's
development as a fortified city is documented between the 10th and the
20th century. The fortifications were developed in different phases:
10th century : fortification of the wharf with a wall and a ditch
12th and 13th century : canals (so called "vlieten" and "ruien")
16th century : Spanish fortifications
19th century : double ring of
Brialmont forts around the city,
dismantling of the Spanish fortifications
20th century : 1960 dismantling of the inner ring of forts,
decommissioning of the outer ring of forts
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.
1500: around 44/49,000 inhabitants
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.)
1584: 84,000 (after the Spanish Fury, the French Fury and the
1586 (May): 60,000 (after siege)
1586 (October): 50,000
1620: 66,000 (Twelve Years' Truce)
1640: 54,000 (after the
Black Death epidemics)
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (June
Largest groups of foreign residents
In 2010, 36 to 39% of the inhabitants of
Antwerp had a migrant
background. A study projects that in 2020, 55% of the population will
be of migrant background.
Main article: Jewish Community of Antwerp
After the Holocaust and the destruction of its many semi-assimilated
Antwerp became a major centre for Orthodox Jews. At present,
about 15,000 Haredi Jews, many of them Hasidic, live in Antwerp. The
city has three official Jewish Congregations: Shomrei Hadass, headed
by Rabbi Dovid Moishe Lieberman, Machsike Hadass, headed by Rabbi
Sekkel Pollack of
Brussels (formerly by Chief Rabbi Chaim Kreiswirth)
and the Portuguese Community Ben Moshe.
Antwerp has an extensive
network of synagogues, shops, schools and organizations. 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.
Main article: Jainism in Belgium
Jain temple in Antwerp
The Jains in
Belgium are estimated to be around about 1,500 people.
The majority live in Antwerp, mostly involved in the very lucrative
diamond business. Belgian Indian Jains control two-thirds of the
rough diamonds trade and supplied
India with roughly 36% of their
rough diamonds. A major temple, with a cultural
centre, has been built in
Antwerp (Wilrijk). Their spiritual leader,
Ramesh Mehta, is a full-fledged member of the Belgian Council of
Religious Leaders, put up on 17 December 2009.
Armenians in Belgium
There are significant Armenian communities that reside in Antwerp,
many of them are descendants of traders who settled during the 19th
century. Most Armenian Belgians are adherents of the Armenian
Apostolic Church, with a smaller numbers are adherents of the Armenian
Catholic Church and Armenian Evangelical Church.
One of the important sectors that Armenian communities in Antwerp
excel and involved in is the diamonds trade business,
that based primarily in the diamond district. Some of the
famous Armenian families involved in the diamond business in the city
are the Artinians, Arslanians, Aslanians, Barsamians and the
Delwaidedok (nl) terminal at the Port of Antwerp.
According to the American Association of Port Authorities, 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 is a wind farm
in the northern part of the port area. There are plans to extend this
in the period 2014–2020. The old Belgian bluestone quays
Scheldt for a distance of 5.6 km (3.5 mi) 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
Antwerp's other great mainstay is the diamond trade that takes place
largely within the diamond district. The city has four diamond
Diamond Club of Antwerp, the Beurs voor Diamanthandel,
Antwerpsche Diamantkring and the Vrije Diamanthandel. Since
World War II
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.
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 the capital of the
diamond industry.
A six-lane motorway bypass encircles much of the city centre and runs
through the urban residential area of Antwerp. Known locally as the
"Ring" it offers motorway connections to Brussels,
Hasselt and Liège,
Bergen op Zoom
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
and the Liefkenshoek
Daily congestion on the Ring led to a fourth high-volume highway link
called the "Oosterweelconnection" being proposed. It would have
entailed the construction of a long viaduct and bridge (the Lange
Wapper) over the docks on the north side of the city in combination
with the widening of the existing motorway into a 14-lane motorway;
these plans were eventually rejected in a 2009 public
In September 2010 the
Flemish Government decided to replace the bridge
by a series of tunnels. There are ideas to cover the Ring in a similar
way as happened around Paris, Hamburg,
Madrid and other cities. This
would reconnect the city with its suburbs and would provide
development opportunities to accommodate part of the foreseen
population growth in
Antwerp which currently are not possible because
of the pollution and noise generated by the traffic on the Ring. An
old plan to build an R2 outer ring road outside the built up urban
area around the
Antwerp agglomeration for port related traffic and
transit traffic never materialized.
Antwerp Central Station
Antwerp is the focus of lines to the north to Essen and the
Netherlands, east to Turnhout, south to Mechelen,
Charleroi, 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, Leuven
Antwerp 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, Central was a
terminus. Trains from
Brussels to the
Netherlands had to either
reverse at Central or call only at
Berchem station, 2 kilometres (1
mile) to the south, and then describe a semicircle to the east, round
the Singel. Now, they call at the new lower level of the station
before continuing in the same direction.
Antwerp is also home to Antwerpen-Noord, the largest classification
yard for freight in
Belgium and second largest in Europe. The majority
of freight trains in
Belgium depart from or arrive here. It has two
classification humps and over a hundred tracks.
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. The Franklin
Rooseveltplaats functions as the city's main hub for local and
regional bus lines.
Antwerp International Airport
A small airport,
Antwerp International Airport, is located in the
district of Deurne, with passenger service to various European
destinations. A bus service connects the airport to the city centre.
The now defunct
VLM Airlines had its head office on the grounds of
Antwerp International Airport. This office is also CityJet's Antwerp
VG Airlines (Delsey Airlines) existed, its head
office was located in the district of Merksem.
Belgium's major international airport,
Brussels Airport, is about 45
kilometres (28 miles) from the city of Antwerp, and connects the city
worldwide. It is connected to the city centre by bus, and also by
train. The new Diabolo rail connection provides a direct fast train
Brussels Airport as of the summer of
There is also a direct rail service between
Antwerp (calling at
Berchem stations) and
Charleroi South station, with a
connecting buslink to
Charleroi Airport, which runs
twice every hour on working days.
The current city council was elected in the October 2012 elections.
The next elections are scheduled for October 2018.
The current majority consists of N-VA, CD&V and Open Vld, led by
Bart De Wever
Bart De Wever (N-VA).
New Flemish Alliance
New Flemish Alliance (N-VA)
Socialist Party Differently (sp.a)
Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V)
Workers' Party of
Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats (Open Vld)
Main article: List of mayors of Antwerp
In the 16th and 17th century important mayors include Philips of
Marnix, Lord of Saint-Aldegonde, Anthony van Stralen, Lord of Merksem
and Nicolaas II Rockox. In the early years after Belgian independence,
Antwerp was governed by Catholic-Unionist mayors. Between 1848 and
1921, all mayors were from the Liberal Party (except for the so-called
Meeting-intermezzo between 1863 and 1872). Between 1921 and 1932, the
city had a Catholic mayor again: Frans Van Cauwelaert. From 1932
onwards (and up till 2013) all mayors belonged to the Social Democrat
party: Camille Huysmans, Lode Craeybeckx, Frans Detiège and Mathilde
Schroyens, and after the municipality fusion: Bob Cools, Leona
Detiège en Patrick Janssens. Since 2013 the mayor is the Flemish
nationalist Bart De Wever, belonging to the Flemish separatist party
N-VA (New Flemish Alliance).
Climate data for
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Source: Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium
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.
One of the many Marian statues which feature on
Antwerp street corners
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.
Antwerp is a rising fashion city, and has produced designers such as
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 the world. It has served as the learning centre for many
Belgian fashion designers. Since the 1980s, several graduates of the
Belgian Royal Academy of Fine Arts have become internationally
successful fashion designers in Antwerp. The city has had a huge
influence on other Belgian fashion designers such as Raf Simons,
Veronique Branquinho, Olivier Theyskens and Kris Van Assche.
Antwerp is famous for its local products. In August every year the
Bollekesfeest takes place. The Bollekesfeest is a showcase for such
local products as Bolleke, an amber beer from the De Koninck Brewery.
The Mokatine sweets made by Confiserie Roodthooft, Elixir D'Anvers, a
locally made liquor, locally roasted coffee from Koffie Verheyen,
sugar from Candico, Poolster pickled herring and Equinox horse meat,
are other examples of local specialities. One of the most known
products of the city are its biscuits, the Antwerpse Handjes,
Antwerp Hands". Usually made from a short pastry with
almonds or milk chocolate, they symbolize the
Antwerp trademark and
folklore. The local products are represented by a non-profit
organization, Streekproducten Provincie Antwerpen vzw.[citation
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
Antwerp is the home of the
Antwerp Jazz Club (AJC), founded in 1938
and located on the square Grote Markt since 1994.
Cultuurmarkt van Vlaanderenis is a musical festival and a touristic
attraction that takes place annually on the final Sunday of August in
the city center of Antwerp. Where international and local musicians
and actors, present their stage and street performances.
Linkerwoofer is a pop-rock music festival located at the left bank of
the Scheldt. This music festival starts in August and mostly local
Belgian musicians play and perform in this event.
Official poster of the
1920 Summer Olympics
1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp.
Antwerp held the 1920 Summer Olympics, which were the first games
First World War
First World War and also the only ones to be held in
Belgium. The road cycling events took place in the streets of the
Antwerp F.C., currently playing in the Belgian First Division,
were founded in 1880 and is known as 'The Great Old' for being the
first club registered to the
Royal Belgian Football Association
Royal Belgian Football Association in
1895. Since 1998, the club has taken
Manchester United players on
loan in an official partnership. Another club in the city was
Beerschot VAC, founded in 1899 by former Royal
Antwerp players. They
played at the Olympisch Stadion, the main venue of the 1920 Olympics.
Nowadays KFCO Beerschot
Wilrijk plays at the Olympisch Stadion in the
Belgian Second Division.
Antwerp Giants play in Basketball League
Belgium and Topvolley
Antwerpen play in the
Belgium men's volleyball League.
For the year 2013,
Antwerp was awarded the title of European Capital
Antwerp hosted the 2013 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships.
Antwerp hosted the start of stage 3 of the
2015 Tour de France
2015 Tour de France on 6
Main building of the Middelheim campus at the University of Antwerp.
Antwerp has a university and several colleges. The University of
Antwerp (Universiteit Antwerpen) was established in 2003, following
the merger of the RUCA, UFSIA and UIA institutes. Their roots go back
to 1852. The University has approximately 13,000 registered students,
making it the third-largest university in Flanders, as well as 1,800
foreign students. It has 7 faculties, spread over four campus
locations in the city centre and in the south of the city.
The city has several colleges, including Charlemagne University
College (Karel de Grote Hogeschool), Plantin University College
(Plantijn Hogeschool), and Artesis University College (Artesis
Hogeschool). Artesis University College has about 8,600 students and
1,600 staff, and Charlemagne University College has about 10,000
students and 1,300 staff. Plantin University College has approximately
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Belgium
Twin towns and sister cities
This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help
improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (September 2016)
(Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The following places are twinned with or sister cities to Antwerp:
Fes, Morocco, 2000
Rotterdam, the Netherlands, 1940
Mulhouse, France, 1954
Saint Petersburg, Russia, 1958
Shanghai, China, 1984
Akhisar, Turkey, 1988
Haifa, Israel, 1995
Cape Town, South Africa, 1996
Ludwigshafen, Germany, 1998
Within the context of development cooperation,
Antwerp is also linked
Durban, South Africa
Main article: Notable people from Antwerp
Born in Antwerp
Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence, son of Edward III of England
Samuel Blommaert, Director of the Dutch West
Frans Floris, painter (1520–1570)
Abraham Ortelius, cartographer and geographer (1527–98)
Gillis van Coninxloo, painter of forest landscapes (1544–1607)
Bartholomeus Spranger, painter, draughtsman, and etcher (1546–1611)
Martín Antonio del Río,
Jesuit theologian (1551–1608)
Matthijs Bril, landscape painter (1550–1583)
Paul Bril, landscape painter (1554–1626)
Willem Usselincx, Flemish merchant and investor, one of the founders
Dutch West India Company
Dutch West India Company (1567–1647)
Abraham Janssens, painter (c. 1570 – 1632)
Rodrigo Calderón, Count of Oliva, Spanish favourite and adventurer
Frans Snyders, still life and animal painter (1579–1657)
Osias Beert the Elder (1580–1623)
Frans Hals, painter (1580–1666)
Caspar de Crayer, painter (1582–1669)
Teniers the Elder, painter (1582–1649)
Jacob Jordaens, painter (1593–1678)
Anthony van Dyck, painter (1599–1641)
Cornelis Melyn, Early American Settler, Patroon of Staten Island
Teniers the Younger, painter (1610–1690)
Jan Fyt, animal painter (1611–1661)
Baroque painter (1661–1710)
Baroque painter (1634–1693)
Hendrik Abbé, engraver, painter and architect (1639-?)
Gerard Edelinck, copperplate engraver (1649–1707)
Peter Tillemans, painter (c. 1684 – 1734)
John Michael Rysbrack, sculptor (1694–1770)
Francis Palms, Belgian-American landholder and businessman (1809-1886)
Hendrik Conscience, writer and author of De Leeuw van Vlaanderen ("The
Lion of Flanders") (1812–1883)
Johann Coaz, Swiss forester, topographer and mountaineer (1822–1918)
Jef Lambeaux, sculptor of the Brabo fountain in the Grote Markt
Georges Eekhoud, novelist (1854–1927)
Jesuit Priest and hagiographic scholar
Jesuit Priest and 3rd Archbishop of Calcutta
Willem Elsschot, writer and poet (1882–1960)
Constant Permeke, expressionist painter (1886–1952)
Paul van Ostaijen, poet and writer (1896–1928)
Alice Nahon, poet (1896–1933)
Albert Lilar, Minister of Justice (1900–1976)
Maurice Gilliams, writer (1900–1982)
Michel Seuphor, painter, designer (1901–1999)
André Cluytens, conductor (1905–1967)
Daniel Sternefeld, composer and conductor (1905–1986)
Maurice van Essche, Belgian-born South African painter (1906–1977)
Antoinette Feuerwerker, French jurist and member of the Resistance
Jean Bingen, Belgian papyrologist and epigrapher (1920–2012)
Karl Gotch, professional wrestler (1924–2007)
Simon Kornblit, American advertising and film studio executive
Bernard de Walque, architect (born 1938)
Ferre Grignard, rock singer/songwriter, known for "Ring Ring, I've Got
To Sing" (1939–1982)
Paul Buysse, businessman (born 1945)
Carl Verbraeken, composer (born 1950)
Tom Barman, Belgian musician and film director (born 1972)
Matthias Schoenaerts, actor (born 1977)
Tia Hellebaut, Olympic high jump champion (born 1978)
Evi Goffin, vocalist (born 1981)
Jessica Van Der Steen, model (born 1984)
Laetitia Beck, Israeli golfer (born 1992)
Romelu Lukaku, professional footballer (born 1993)
Lived in Antwerp
Erasmus II Schetz, Lord of Grobbendonk
Abraham Mayer, German-born physician (1848)
Renaissance painter, founder of the
Jan Mabuse, painter (c. 1478–1532)
Joachim Patinir, landscape and religious painter (c. 1480–1524)
Christian minister, Bible translator and commentator, and
martyr (c. 1500–1555)
Joos van Cleve, painter (c. 1500–1540/41)
Damião de Góis, Portuguese humanist philosopher (1502–1574)
Sir Thomas Gresham, English merchant and financier (c. 1519–1579)
Sir Anthony More, portrait painter (1520–c. 1577)
Christoffel Plantijn, humanist, book printer and publisher (c.
Pieter Brueghel the Elder, painter and printmaker (1525–1569)
Philip van Marnix, writer and statesman (1538–1598)
Simon Stevin, mathematician and engineer (c. 1548/49–1620)
Federigo Giambelli, Italian military and civil engineer (c. 1550–c.
John Bull, English/Welsh composer, musician, and organ builder (c.
Jan Brueghel the Elder, also known as "Velvet" Brueghel, painter
Pieter Paul Rubens, painter (1577–1640)
William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Newcastle, English soldier, politician,
and writer (c. 1592 – 1676)
Adriaen Brouwer, painter (1605–1638)
Jan Davidszoon de Heem, painter (1606–1684)
Bohemian etcher (1607–1677)
Jan Lievens, painter (1607–1674)
Ferdinand van Apshoven the Younger, painter (c. 1630–1694)
Frédéric Théodore Faber, painter (1782–1799)
Jan Frans Willems, writer (1793–1846)
Henri Alexis Brialmont, military engineer (1821–1903)
Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, painter (1836–1912)
Vincent van Gogh, impressionist Dutch painter who lived in
about four months (1853–1890)
Camille Huysmans, Socialist politician, former mayor of
former Prime Minister of
Moshe Yitzchok Gewirtzman, leader of the Hasidic Pshevorsk movement
Romi Goldmuntz, businessman (1882–1960)
Gerard Walschap, writer (1898–1989)
Albert Lilar, Minister of Justice (1900–1976)
Suzanne Lilar, essayist, novelist, and playwright (1901–1992)
Heaven Tanudiredja, designer, artist
Eric de Kuyper, award-winning novelist, filmmaker, semiotician
Philip Sessarego, former British Army soldier, conman, hoaxer,
mercenary lived in
Antwerp and found dead in a garage (1952–2008)
Jean Genet, French writer and political activist (1909–1986), lived
Antwerp for short period in the 1930s
George du Maurier, came to
Antwerp to study art and lost the sight in
one eye; cartoonist, author and grandfather of Daphne du Maurier
Chaim Kreiswirth, Talmudist and Rabbi of the Machsike Hadas Community,
William Tyndale, Bible translator, arrested in
Antwerp 1535 and burnt
at Vilvoorde in 1536 (c. 1494–1536)
Akiba Rubinstein, Polish grandmaster of chess (1882–1961).
Veerle Casteleyn, performer
Ray Cokes, English TV host
Robert Barrett Browning, or "Pen", only child of Robert and Elizabeth
Barrett Browning, studied painting in Antwerp
Ford Madox Brown, leading
Preraphaelite painter. Studied art at
August De Boodt, politician (1895–1986)
Bernoulli family, renowned family of mathematicians and physicists
Den Dam – an area in northern Antwerp
The diamond district – an area consisting of several square blocks,
it is Antwerp's centre for the cutting, polishing, and trading of
Antwerp on the left bank of the
Scheldt with a lot of
Meir – Antwerp's largest shopping street
Van Wesenbekestraat – the city's Chinatown
Het Zuid – the south of Antwerp, notable for its museums and Expo
Zurenborg – an area between Central and
Berchem station with a
Art Nouveau townhouses
Antwerp Book Fair
Antwerp Water Works
Antwerp Water Works (AWW)
AMVC Archief en Museum voor het Vlaams Cultuurleven
Jewish Community of Antwerp
List of mayors of Antwerp
Pshevorsk – Hassidic Jewish movement based in Antwerp
Antwerp F.C., local football club
^ Population per municipality as of 1 January 2017 (XLS; 397 KB)
^ Statistics Belgium; Loop van de bevolking per gemeente (excel-file)
Population of all municipalities in Belgium, as of 1 January 2017.
Retrieved on 1 November 2017.
^ The capital region of Brussels, whose metropolitan area comprises
the city itself plus 18 independent communal entities, counts over
1,700,000 inhabitants, but these communities are counted separately by
the Belgian Statistics Office Statbel the Belgian statistics office
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See also: Bibliography of the history of Antwerp
Blanchard, Ian. The International Economy in the "Age of the
Antwerp and the English Merchants' World
(Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2009). 288 pp. in English
Harreld, Donald J. "Trading Places," Journal of Urban History (2003)
29#6 pp 657-669
Limberger, Michael. Sixteenth-Century
Antwerp and its Rural
Surroundings: Social and Economic Changes in the Hinterland of a
Commercial Metropolis (ca. 1450-1570) (Turnhout: Brepols Publishers,
2008). 284 pp. ISBN 978-2-503-52725-3.
Lindemann, Mary. The
Merchant Republics: Amsterdam, Antwerp, and
Hamburg, 1648-1790 (Cambridge University Press, 2014) 356 pp.
Van der Wee, Herman. The Growth of the
Antwerp Market and the European
Economy (14th–16th Centuries) (The Hague, 1963)
Richard Stillwell, ed. Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites,
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Antwerp.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Antwerp.
Places adjacent to Antwerp
Woensdrecht (NL-NB), Stabroek
Hemiksem, Aartselaar, Edegem
City of Antwerp
University of Antwerp
Lycée Français International d'Anvers
Antwerp International School
Antwerp International Airport
Berchem railway station
Antwerpen-Centraal railway station
Antwerpen-Zuid railway station
Members of the
Hanseatic League by Quarter
Chief cities shown in smallcaps.
Free Imperial Cities of the
Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire shown in italics.
Frankfurt an der Oder
Dortmund were both capital of the Westphalian Quarter at
Antwerp gained importance once
Bruges became inaccessible due to the
silting of the
Burgundian Circle (1512–1797) of the Holy Roman Empire
Seventeen Provinces of
Guelders (Veluwe Quarter,
Nijmegen Quarter and Zutphen)
Guelders (Upper Quarter)
1 until 1648; 2 until 1659; 3 until
1678. Circles est. 1500: Bavarian, Swabian, Upper Rhenish, Lower
Rhenish–Westphalian, Franconian, (Lower) Saxon
Circles est. 1512: Austrian, Burgundian, Upper Saxon, Electoral
Rhenish · Unencircled
Municipalities in the province of Antwerp, Flanders, Belgium
World Book Capitals
2003: New Delhi
2011: Buenos Aires
2014: Port Harcourt
European Capitals of Culture
Santiago de Compostela
Luxembourg City and Greater Region
European Capitals of Sport
2022 The Hague
European Youth Capitals
2019 Novi Sad
Summer Olympic Games
Summer Olympic Games host cities
1904: St. Louis
1932: Los Angeles
1984: Los Angeles
2016: Rio de Janeiro
2028: Los Angeles
[c1] Cancelled due to World War I; [c2] Cancelled due to World War II
Venues of the 1920 Summer Olympics
Beerschot Tennis Club
Scheldt Maritime Canal
Buiten Y (Amsterdam)
Gardens of the
Egmont Palace (Brussels)
Hoogboom Military Camp
Jules Ottenstadion (Ghent)
Palais de Glace d'Anvers
Stade Joseph Marien
Stade Joseph Marien (Brussels)
Stade Nautique d'Antwerp
Vélodrome d'Anvers Zuremborg
Olympic venues in cycling
Marathon (city), Neo Phaliron Velodrome
Vélodrome de Vincennes
White City Stadium
Antwerp, Vélodrome d'Anvers Zuremborg
Stade de Colombes, Vélodrome de Vincennes
Amsterdam, Olympic Stadium
Los Angeles Avenue, Pacific Coast Highway, Rose Bowl in Pasadena,
Avus Motor Road, BSV 92 Field & Stadium
Herne Hill Velodrome, Windsor Great Park
Käpylä, Maunula, Pakila, Velodrome
Olympic Velodrome, Via Cassia, Via Flaminia, Via Cristoforo Colombo,
Via di Grottarossa
Hachioji City, Hachioji Velodrome
Agustín Melgar Olympic Velodrome, Satellite Circuit
Bundesautobahn 96, Grünwald, Radstadion
Mount Royal Park, Olympic Velodrome, Quebec Autoroute 40
Krylatskoye Sports Complex Cycling Circuit, Krylatskoye Sports Complex
Velodrome, Moscow-Minsk Highway
Artesia Freeway, Olympic Velodrome, Streets of Mission Viejo
Olympic Velodrome, Tongillo Road Course
A-17 highway, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Sant Sadurní Cycling
Circuit, Velòdrom d'Horta
Cycling road course, Georgia International Horse Park, Stone Mountain
Park Archery Center and Velodrome
Centennial Parklands, Dunc Gray Velodrome, Western
Athens Olympic Velodrome, Kotzia Square, Parnitha Olympic Mountain
Bike Venue, Vouliagmeni Olympic Centre
Laoshan Bicycle Moto Cross (BMX) Venue, Laoshan Mountain Bike Course,
Laoshan Velodrome, Urban Road Cycling Course
BMX Circuit, Hadleigh Farm,
London Velodrome, Hampton
Fort Copacabana, Mountain Bike Centre, Olympic BMX Centre, Pontal, Rio
Izu Velodrome, Fuji Speedway, Olympic BMX Course
Vélodrome de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Champs-Élysées, Élancourt
VELO Sports Center,
Los Angeles Convention Center, Grand Park,
Downtown Long Beach, Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park
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