Antwerp (Antwerpen/Anvers in Dutch/French) is Belgium’s second city, biggest port and capital of cool. It has long been a powerful magnet for everyone from fashion moguls and club queens to art lovers and diamond dealers. In the mid-16th century it was one of Europe’s most important cities and home to baroque superstar painter Pieter Paul Rubens – as many a museum will regularly remind you. Despite many historical travails thereafter, and severe WWII bombing, Antwerp retains an intriguing medieval heart with plenty of café-filled cobbled lanes, a riverside fortress and a truly impressive cathedral. Today, however, Antwerp’s top drawcards are its vibrant fashion and entertainment scene, along with its startling architectural and cultural contrasts.
Antwerp people love eating and drinking and like to take the time to do so. In the summertime, café terraces and culinary events therefore set the mood. But it’s not just during the summer months that Antwerp reveals its tastiest side: fries and beer – both often praised as the best in the world – are an integral part of Belgian gastronomy at all times of year. The many local specialities are evidence of the city’s rich culinary tradition, foremost among them being Antwerpse Handjes, Bolleke beer and the liqueur Elixir d’Anvers. As you would expect from a world port, these regional treats are complemented by an extensive multicultural cuisine.
THE CITY OF DIAMONDS
Antwerp has been the largest and most dependable diamond centre in the world for more than five centuries. It controls no less than four-fifths of the rough diamond market and half of the polished market, and has four major diamond exchanges. This is not just a business story: it is also a tale of craftsmanship, technology, traditions and creativity.
The romance between Antwerp and fashion goes way back. Our most famous love child the Antwerp Six. Thanks to these designers, all spotlights shine on Antwerp’s catwalks. And that reputation has not diminished – just look at their many remarkable successors.
Antwerp has been investing in fashion for years. It is present here in all its forms: from an illustrious fashion programme and several ateliers to a fashion museum. That creative influence has spread across the city. You'll bump into many famous fashion houses and design shops.
Getting around Antwerp
You can get around Antwerp using buses and trams. However, the Old Town and many other historical places are located within walking distance.
Tickets can be bought from vending machines around the city, once on board from the driver (prepare exact change) or at certain newsagents.
Single journey adult fare is 3,00 Euro. Please be aware that paper tickets need to be validated using special machines once on board, else you will be liable to pay a penalty fare.
Antwerp is a great place to explore by bike. Move fast throughout Antwerp and her surrounding districts with the city bikes from Velo Antwerpen. With a day pass you can make short rides between the different Velo-stations. A day pass only costs 4,00 Euro.
In order to avoid unpleasant surprises, we recommend only using licensed taxi companies. Such taxi should have a visible price-list, a taximeter and a company logo with a phone number.
Taxis can be ordered by phone, some of them online or at a taxicab stand.
You will pay approximately 2.95 euro upfront charge and 2,10 Euro for every subsequent km
(week day, day-time fare, zone 1).
Antwerp is perfect for exploring on foot. Most city highlights, such as Grand Place, Antwerp cathedral, are situated close to one another, in the historical centre where pedestrian zones make walking friendly and safe.
Low-emission zone in Antwerp
The most polluting vehicles may no longer enter the city! These include older diesel-powered cars and very old petrol-powered cars. The conditions are more stringent for diesel-powered cars than for cars powered by petrol, LPG or natural gas. Diesel-powered cars emit more soot and particulate matter.
This applies to all vehicles: passenger cars, camper vans, delivery vans and lorries, agricultural vehicles, buses (this includes tourist coaches). More details can be found on the website of the City of Antwerp.