The Gateway to the North Sea

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ANTWERP, BELGIUM – Set on the broad river Sheldt, at the gateway to the North Sea, Antwerp is one of the leading trading cities of northern Europe. In the early 17th century it was one of the great cultural centres. The city, that has had its share of suffering – battered by the religious wars of the 16th century, cut off from the North Sea by treaty with the Netherlands from 1648 to 1795, and bombed in World War II. These historical apps and downs have endowed the city with a keen edge, like its famous diamonds. This dynamic energy is seen today in its hip bars, restaurants and nightclubs.

Grote Markt is the main square of Antwerp, one of the great gilded arenas of Belgium.

The city authorities made a virtue of its unusual ‘dog-leg’ shape and slope by commissioning sculptor Jef Lambeaux to create an eye-catching fountain, placed off-center, with its water spilling out directly into the cobbles. It depicts Brabo, a legendary Roman soldier free the port of Antwerp defeating the giant Antigoon and throwing his severed hand into the river.

The Italian influence Stadhuis (Town Hall) dominates the square. Built in the 1560s, its grand horizontals are offset by the upward Curve of the roof corners, like a smile.

With it turrets and towers and Gothic detail the ‘Meat house’ – Vleeshuis is one of the most beautiful and curious buildings of Antwerp. Built in 1501 as the gilthouse of the butchers and a meat market, it is now used as a museum of music. From Street singers to conczrt hall, the Vleeshuis  charts the history of the city through its many forms of musical expression using historical instruments including harpsichords made by the famous Ruckers family, manuscripts and a bell foundry.

Discover the city by playing an urban adventure

Old Antwerp lies on the east bank of the river Scheldt. The river is so broad that the modern suburb on the west bank seems utterly remote – linked by tunnels. The Scheldt is deep enough to bring large ships to Antwerp’s docks to the north of the city. This easy access to the North Sea has made Antwerp Europe’s second largest port.

Of all the churches in Antwerp the church of St. James is noted for having the richest interior and for being the burial place of Rubens. It was built in late Gothic style in the 15th and 16th centuries by architects who  also work on the cathedral. The church contains work by leading sculptures of the 17th century, such as Lucas, Faydherbe, Artus and Hendrik Verbruggen, as well as paintings by Rubens, Jordaens and Van Dyck.
Accommodation in Antwerp depends on the location and stars.

Hilton hotel is listed among the most prominent hotels, with its location overlooking the Groenplaats, right in the middle of Antwerp. It is an extraordinary dome-roofed palace built as the Grand Bazar du Bon Marche, a 1920‘sd department store. Part of it has now been converted into a top-class stylish and well-appointed Hilton Hotel. Most of the rooms overlook a quiet inner courtyard.

Groenplaats Scheldezicht Hotel, from it’s position overlooking a little square just to the south- west of the cathedral this friendly popular and well priced hotel has views over the river Scheldt. The hotel excudes old-world but unstaffy charm. Breakfast is served in an oak panelled room.


Keywords: #Antwerp #booking hotel in #travel destinations #river scheldt #north sea gateway

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7 thoughts on “The Gateway to the North Sea

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