Grote Markt<strong> </strong>originally was a forum or square just outside the medieval residential quarter. In 1220 Duke Henry I of Brabant (1165-1235) donated this community land to the city.<br /> The name <em>Merckt</em> was used for the first time in 1310.<br />
Around this time the first annual markets or foren van Brabant (Brabant fairs) were organised. Here English merchants would do business with Italians, Spaniards and merchants from the Northern German Hanseatic cities as well as from Southern Germany and Flemings of course. At the end of the fifteenth century Antwerp overtook Bruges as the most prominent city of the Low Countries.
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Shorter days and longer nights… Yes, autumn is here. But don’t worry, because in Antwerp we always make sure that every day and every night is simply unforgettable, with fun parties in unexpected places, concerts in palaces and exhibitions and culinary highlights in the city centre. And just when you think you’ve seen it all, we have another surprise up our sleeve for you. Book the Discover Antwerp package, spend the night in Antwerp and make the most of your stay with the Antwerp City Card that is included.
Antwerp’s latest architectural jewel is the Port House. This funky and innovative building, with roots in the past, is the new headquarters of the Antwerp Port Authority that accommodates over 500 employees. You can also plan a guided tour of the building and enjoy the panoramic view over the port and the city.
Step into the shoes of the leading Baroque artist of his era. Rubens and his family lived in this palatial setting for well over 25 years and it is here that the artist created the lion’s share of his work. Here he entertained Europe’s nobility and Royalty and stored his impressive art collection in a beautiful art room. The garden, the creators’ workshop and the fabulous collection draws 150 000 visitors from all over the world, year after year.
It took 169 years (1352-1521) of labour to raise the 123m heavenward-reaching steeple of the Cathedral, the highest Gothic building in the Low Countries. The Cathedral is an iconic treasury, with an impressive collection of major art works, including a series of paintings by Rubens. Now, after twenty years, the seven-naved church has been restored to its former architectural glory. Fascinating features include Rubens’ ‘Elevation of the Cross’ and his ‘Descent from the Cross’. Any visit to Antwerp starts with a visit of the Cathedral of Our Lady.
The MAS is the most prominent place where the city and the port come together, both literally and figuratively. The 60 metre tall tower – a feat of daring architecture – has already become a new landmark in Antwerp. The MAS is focusing on the city’s diversity and reflecting on the many contacts between cultures, both past and present. The museum collection tells the story of the city, the port and the world. On the roof of the MAS, you can also enjoy panoramic views over Antwerp.
The secret Vlaeykensgang alley dates from 1591 and connects Hoogstraat, Oude Koornmarkt Pelgrimstraat with one another. Walk through the gate at Oude Koornmarkt 16 and you feel as if you have journeyed back in time. In the past this alley was where the shoemakers and the poorest people in the city lived. The shoemakers were also in charge of sounding the alarm bell of the cathedral. These days you can find antiques stores and art galleries here as well as the exclusive restaurant Sir Anthony Van Dyck. The atmosphere is very intimate which is why many people also like to come here to listen to the carillon concerts during the summertime.
"The beautifully renovated Shopping Stadsfeestzaal on the Meir is presently a shopping centre housing over fifty shops. "
Antwerp has a solid national and international reputation as a creative fashion city. The well-known Fashion Academy and the amazing Fashion Museum as well as the inspiring shopping streets and the various fashionable events organised in the city all contribute to this. The new Antwerp Fashion Weekend event only helps confirm why so many visitors from neighbouring cities and further afield think of Antwerp as the shopping capital of Belgium.
What do you do if it’s raining outside but you don’t want to stay indoors? The Antwerp residents don’t let a shower or thunderstorm stop them from doing what they want to do. If you’re prepared to brave the bad weather, you will see that there’s plenty to keep you occupied, with an umbrella in hand, if necessary. We are happy to inspire you with sheltered and less sheltered tips.