09 Top-Rated Attractions and Things to Do in Antwerp

09 Top-Rated Attractions and Things to Do in Antwerp


1. See the collection inside the Museum Mayer van den Bergh

In just a short period during the 1890s, art connoisseur Fritz Mayer van den Berg amassed an impressive collection of more than 3,000 pieces. It is now displayed on four floors of a neo-Gothic house at Lange Gasthuisstraat 19 known as the Museum Mayer van den Berg.

The collection includes some of the finest works of art, including paintings by Pieter Brueghel the Elder ( Dulle). The earliest works signed by Griet and the artist are The Twelve Proverbs, both in Rome 26), Rubens, Jourdain, Potts , Van der Weyden, Van Ostad , Lucas Cranach and Quentin Macys .

Also included are Flemish and French religious sculptures, a fine collection of ivories, a unique 16th-century Flemish brewery, and, in Room 14, the polychrome group of Christ with Saint John (1300) by Henry of Constance and Holland. Diptych (about 1400).

The second floor houses a collection of porcelain, while the third floor houses 17th-century furniture and paintings.

2. The Royal Museum of Fine Arts ( Koninklijk Museum voor Sean Kinston )

The core of the collection is within the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Sean Kinstone ) originally belonged to the Lucas guild of painters and sculptors, which was founded in 1442.

After the dissolution of the Guild in 1773, the works of art accumulated over the years until they came into the possession of the Academy of Fine Arts.

By Florent van Ertbourne, former mayor of Antwerp, the collection has been augmented by a large number of new acquisitions, especially paintings from the 15th and 16th centuries.

The Academy was found to not have enough space to accommodate the vast collection and decided to build a new museum.

The group is on two floors. The ground floor is mostly devoted to paintings and sculptures of the 19th and 20th centuries, totaling some 1,500 pieces, providing, among other things, an excellent overview of the development of the plastic arts in Belgium since the 1830s.

The Old Masters Gallery on the first floor houses more than 1,000 works, mostly from the Flemish and Dutch schools.

3. Learn about the history of immigration at the Red Star Line Museum.

One of Antwerp’s newest tourist attractions, the Red Star Line Museum, opened in 2013 after more than two decades of planning. 

Red Star steamships ferried immigrants from Belgium and surrounding European countries between 1883 and 1934, bringing them abroad to Canada or the United States to escape persecution, poverty, and oppression.

The museum is dedicated not only to exploring the journey and the process itself, but also the reasons why people choose to leave their homes in the hope of a better life.

The exhibits include areas where passengers were chosen to cross, some of whom were never given the chance to board the ship. Areas of interest include the personal stories of those who emigrated, those who stayed behind, and the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.

4. St Paul’s Church (St Pauluskerk )

In the city centre, the Veemarkt (the square formerly used as a cattle market) is home to the Gothic St. Paul’s Church ( Sint-Pauluskerk ), begun in 1517 and not completed until 1639.

A fire in 1968 severely damaged the church, and only the zealous efforts of local residents prevented the loss of the precious interior.

The church is home to paintings by Rubens , Jordaan and Van Dyck . These include Peter Verbruggen ‘s magnificent Baroque Confessions and three paintings by Rubens: The Executioner of Christ (1617) in the left aisle and Adoration of the Shepherds and Controversy over the Blessed Sacrament in the left aisle.

5. The Butcher’s Hall ( Vleeshuis )

In the late Gothic Butcher’s Hall ( Vleeshuis ) the former council chamber of the butchers’ guild. The impressive brick building, built in 1501-04, was deliberately placed close to the Scheldt, allowing the blood of slaughtered animals to flow into the river.

A museum of applied arts and archeology with collections of prehistoric, Egyptian, Roman and Merovingian artefacts . Weapons and armor. Ceramics; Furniture carving and woodwork. and coins.

Among its most prized possessions is the 16th-century image of the Transfiguration of Saul created from the tiles of Antwerp known as the Averbode Retable by Pieter Quick van Aelst .

Vleeshuis also has an impressive collection of musical instruments , including a fine ukulele from the instrument-makers workshop of Ruckers.

6. Visit Antwerp Central Station .

Antwerp railway station (commonly known as Antwerp- Central or Antwerpen -Central) is one of the most beautiful railway stations in Europe and considered one of the most impressive train stations in the world.

The Railway Cathedral’s nickname is a testament to its grandeur, and even those who don’t travel by rail will appreciate a peek inside.

Constructed between 1895 and 1905, it is of historical importance as the first public railway station in Belgium, itself the first of its kind in Europe. Belgian architect Louis Delacenser chose among several different architectural forms in his design, resulting in a bold and dramatic building in a timeless style . 

The entrance hall, with its high arches and brick dome, is the largest part of the station’s interior and is an official introduction to Antwerp if you arrive by train. 

The station is a two-kilometer walk east of Antwerp’s Great Square in the Old Town, and just one kilometer northeast of Robin’s house.

7. Bike the Skyway (Harbor Tour)

It is a sightseeing tour of the harbor area , marked by the Antwerp Tourist Office. Parts of the city center can be easily explored on foot, but if you want to explore further afield, rent a bike.

The port of Antwerp is the second largest in Europe after Rotterdam, which fully justifies its claim to be one of the largest in the world.

The port facilities alone cover an area of over 10,000 hectares, with another 3,400 hectares for industrial use.

Start the Haven Route in the docks area from Loodsgebouw (Pilot House) , where the route turns north, almost immediately past the two oldest docks, Bonaparteduque and Willemsduque , at the far end, where you’ll find the huge Koninklijk can be seen. Stapelhuis _

If you have a car or bike, the Haven Road leads out of the city, past the 17th-century Einhorn windmill , to Lille (16km northwest of Antwerp), which escapes from harbor congestion. Weil is one of the villages few in the coldest.

In , there is a choice between driving to explore Berendrechtsluiss, the largest lake in the world, or shortening the tour by turning south to Antwerp, France , following the Haven Road . Tejsmanstunnel under the Duce Canal .

8. St. James Church ( St. Jacobskerk )

St. Jacobskerk) with its exquisitely ornate Baroque interior, is one of the richest ecclesiastical buildings in Antwerp, endowed with extraordinary artistic treasures.

This was the church in which the patron families of the city worshiped, and they regularly commissioned famous artists to design their own chapels, altars, and tombs. 

Robbins Chapel is the main center of interest for visitors. Located behind the high altar, it contains the tombs of the Painter (1640) and other members of his family.

9. DIVA (Diamond Museum)

DIVA (Diamond, Silver and Jewelery Museum Antwerp) explores all the different aspects of the diamond trade, including their extraction, processing and industrial use.

It also focuses on Antwerp’s long heritage of silversmithing and jewelry making and how this heritage led to the city’s central role in the global diamond trade.

In addition to displays of cut and uncut (original) diamonds as well as copies of the most famous stones, the museum’s exhibits include a wide range of Belgian silverwork, from finely engraved cutlery to delicate jewellery.

The museum is temporarily closed for renovations until December 2022, but the DIVA pop-up museum, showcasing some of the museum’s diamond and silver collections, will be on display in Antwerp’s Grand Place (Grote Markt) for the duration.)

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