Antwerp is both a bustling industrial port city and an outstanding historic center for Belgian craftwork and artistry. This city is an obvious choice for travellers in Belgium. This post will help you list some of the top tourist attractions in Antwerp.
Tourist Attractions in Antwerp
1. Grand Place (Grote Markt)
Antwerp’s Grand Place (Grote Markt) with its town hall and numerous guild houses in the heart of the old town. In the middle stands the ornate Brabo Fountain erected in 1887 by Jef Lambeaux and depicting the Roman soldier Silvius Brabo tossing the severed hand of the giant Antigonus into the Scheldt.
The Town Hall (or Stadhuis) dominates the plaza’s western side and was built by Cornelis Floris de Vriendt between 1561 and 1565. Inside, the rooms are hung with 19th-century paintings by H. Leys illustrating the history of Antwerp. Apart from the Stadhuis, most of the buildings bordering the Grote Markt are former guild houses, which originally served as headquarters of the city’s 16th- and 17th-century guilds.
2. Red Star Line Museum
Those 12 million immigrants who landed on Ellis Island in the first half of the 20th century, looking to live the American dream? A great number of them set sail from Antwerp. At the Red Star Line Museum, housed in the old warehouses of the shipping company that sent steamer after steamer full of people westwards, the odyssey of these dreamers is laid out with an impressive eye for both detail and historical context.
This is one of the best tourist attractions in Antwerp that you must visit.
3. Antwerp Central Station
Looking at a train station may not be one of the best things to do in many cities but in Antwerp, it is an absolute must. The Gothic architecture of the building’s impressive exterior will take your breath away and the main hall is equally splendid. The station is one of the city’s most treasured landmarks and has been rated as one of the world’s top five most beautiful train stations. The station is much more than just a pretty face however and has been fully adapted to operate in the 21st Century with its multilevel platforms.
4. Cathedral of Our Lady
The Cathedral of Our Lady (Onze Lieve Vrouwkathedraal), is Belgium’s largest Gothic church. Work was started on the cathedral in 1352, continuing until 1521. Jacob van Thienen, Pieter Appelmans, Jan Tac, Everaert Spoorwater, Hermann and Dominic de Waghemakere, and Rombout Keldermans were among the architects and master-builders who contributed to its construction.
The church has suffered serious damage on a number of occasions over the years, depriving it of many of its most precious works of art. First came a fire in 1533, then despoliation at the hands of dissident iconoclasts in 1566, Calvinists in 1581, and French Republican troops in 1794 and 1800. Sadly, only a few of the lost treasures have since been recovered.
5. Port House
When challenged to incorporate an old protected fire station into the city’s new international Port House, Zaha Hadid Architects decided to plop quite the juxtaposition on top. The monument now carries a glittering, glass-covered expansion simultaneously referencing Antwerp’s reputation for diamonds and its maritime culture. The piece of prestigious architecture is begging to be admired in the sunlight.
6. Museum aan de Stroom (MAS)
Antwerp’s municipal museum is housed in a fine example of modern architecture that features a geometric configuration of variegated stone and wave-shaped glass panels. This 10-story building resembles a child’s block puzzle and sits overlooking the harbour on the former site of the Hanseatic warehouse.
The museum’s exhibits include a true variety of topics. Local subjects include a gastronomic history of the city on the 5th floor and a look at Antwerp’s former role as the largest trade and shipping port in the world. The rooftop, which is open on top but enclosed with glass walls, affords tourists a full 360-degree view of the city and the port; here is where you will find the Saluting Admiral Couple sculpture created by local artist Guillaume Bijl.
7. Park Spoor Noord
Sultry days soon call for lazy afternoons at Park Spoor Noord, Antwerp’s resident hot-day solution. Here, children splash around in shallow water basins, chattering friends carry rosé from the pop-up summer bar to their beach chairs, and communal barbecues and the occasional food truck fill the summer air with foodie fragrances.