Past, present, and future, Antwerp has it all. This fashionable metropolis effortlessly bridges centuries-old heritage with the flair of trendy, contemporary city life.
Some cities are beacons of heritage: centuries-old cathedrals, medieval streets and museums packed with masterpieces. Other cities feel fresh and stylish: daring architecture, a fashionable vibe and vibrant nightlife…and then you have Antwerp, which effortlessly brings these opposites together.
Centuries ago, Antwerp’s star had already risen high. In the 16th century, this illustrious port city was one of Europe’s most important commercial metropolises. This in turn triggered cultural and artistic growth, thanks in part to Peter Paul Rubens. One of the leading founders of the Baroque and greatest painters in European art history, the city still bears his signature today. You will find this greatness at the Rubenshuis and elsewhere. Rubens once lived and worked in this city palace, and today it’s a magnificent museum. You’ll also see his rich touch at the iconic Cathedral of Our Lady, a structure almost seven centuries old, or at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts (KMSKA), which will soon reopen after many years of renovation.
Antwerp perpetually salutes its grandmaster and many more things as well. You can also sample more recent history in the city: The Museum aan de Stroom (MAS), the monumental Art Deco skyscraper De Boerentoren, and the Havenhuis — an architectural masterpiece by Zaha Hadid — are some wonderful examples. And what about Central Station? This masterful example of architecture has been elected the most beautiful train station in the world on multiple occasions. One look at those beautiful, vaulted ceilings, monumental clocks, and the grand entrance hall will show you why.
This railway cathedral, some 120 years old, is the perfect link between history and the contemporary vibe that Antwerp does so well; this city has always kept a finger firmly on its cultural pulse. The city breathes, and you see that in the fashion world too. Discover Antwerp’s famous haute couturiers in the Quartier Latin or pick up the vintage find of your life on Kammenstraat.; enjoy the surprising Museum of Contemporary Art M HKA, or the sparkling Fotomuseum FoMu — or one of countless small art galleries.
After a day packed with culture, it will be time for a well-earned break, for example, on the terraces of the trendy restaurants and bars of Het Zuid. This is the ideal warm-up to get ready for the city’s bustling nightlife. From Rubens to Antwerp by night. The best of both worlds!