Pilgrims arriving at the Sint-Jacobskerk [Saint Jacob’s Church] in Antwerp can visit the main sights by following the Scallop Shell Trail.
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Of old, pilgrims stopped in Antwerp to regain their strength as this is where they could find overnight accommodation at the Sint-Julianus [Saint Julian’s] inn.
Het Steen was home to the Maritime Museum for many years. Now that its collection has been moved to the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS), HETPALEIS and the city of Antwerp have reopened this legendary building as a ‘question centre’ for visitors (and anyone looking for answers), young or old, aged six years or over.
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 “Handelsbeurs” (New Exchange) was built in 1531, as the Old Exchange on Hofstraat had become too small. It was the first exchange ever built specifically for this use, and became the model for other exchanges all over the world.
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.
Near the river Scheldt you find Saint Paul’s Church, the former Dominican church, which was completed in 1639. The church has some splendid Baroque altars, more than 200 statues and 50 paintings. Masterpieces by artists such as Jordaens, Rubens, Van Balen and Van Dyck emphasise the church’s unique appeal. The Calvary garden looks like a set from an epic film about Christ’s suffering and resurrection.
Check the Visit Antwerp Guide for more info about the nicest attractions, the best events, the most delicious Antwerp specialities, tips from Antwerp locals… In short, everything you need for an unforgettable visit to Antwerp. For sale at the visitor centres of Visit Antwerpen at Grote Markt and Central Station.
Winter in Antwerp is the ultimate winter holiday and so much more! Between 10 December and 8 January, the entire city centre is enveloped in a cosy atmosphere on squares and shopping streets, with an outdoor ice rink, a winter bar, original and fun shops, additional retail Sundays and lots of surprises.
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.
Thanks to the handy Rubens walking guide you can learn more about the life of Rubens and his contemporaries, based on the seven vices and virtues. Get a better idea of life in seventeenth-century Antwerp with fascinating stories and facts as you walk around the city. The jealousy of a former associate, the amazing art collection of Rubens’s friend, Mayor Rockox, why Rubens married a sixteen-year old girl at the age of 53... it’s all there. Obviously you will also learn how he became one of the greatest painters of his era and discover some magnificent artworks from Antwerp’s Golden Age.