Bank and embankment recreated

Along the banks of the Scheldt, across the Eilandje and straight through the Schipperskwartier (sailor’s quarter)… your guide walks you through the earliest history of the port of Antwerp - from the bank of the Scheldt to lively city on the river.

This is the city-by-the-river walk par excellence! Your guide will tell you a fascinating tale about the origin and growth of the historic city centre by the Scheldt as you follow a quirky and unusual route along the river bank, across ‘Eilandje’ and through the Red-Light District.
 
Step by step you will learn how the river bank, the dunes and canals were transformed throughout
the centuries. Hidden parts of the city walls, strange place names, vaulted canals - known as ‘ruien’ - and historic facades reveal the fascinating past of these old port districts. Dive into the history of the Antwerp as a canal city, Gilbert van Schoonbeke’s Nieuwstad, the picturesque Napoleonic docks, the sieges of 1814 and 1830 and the straightening of the Scheldt quays in the nineteenth century during which part of the city even disappeared into the river ...
 
Fortunately the beautiful St. Paul’s Church survived a major fire in 1968 and this restored monument is now an eye-catching feature along our route. Nostalgic sailor’s bars, high brick warehouses and imposing port buildings as well as the tolerance zone for prostitution showcase the proud maritime past and vibrant present of this renewed part of the city by the river. The future plans for these port neighbourhoods are also addressed. Along the way you stop on a terrace with stunning views of MAS for refreshments or get a taste of the atmosphere of a real sailor’s pub.
 
Because of the longer distance, some stairs and bumpy cobblestones this walk is less suited to people who are not that mobile.
 
Wear good walking shoes.
The trail also takes you through the Red-Light District. This may not be an ideal family outing.
Refreshments during the stop are not included in the price.
 
The trail takes you along: STEEN - PILOTAGE BUILDING – MAS (‘Eiland je’) - FALCONPLEIN - ST. PAUL’S CHURCH. It includes a short visit - if open to: the reception area of MAS and St. Paul’s Church.
 
Start and finish: Visit Antwerpen, Grote Markt 13.


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Jan Crab

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Touring around (and in) the MAS - copyright Foto Bart Huysmans & Michel Wuyts | Neutelings Riedijk Architecten

Touring around (and in) the MAS

Old Docks, Cadix and Montevideo… the once so faded docklands are rejuvenating. Today we call them ‘het Eilandje’ – because the neighbourhood was formerly enclosed by water when the locks of the Bonapartedok and the Verbindingsdok were open. A fascinating walk along Antwerp’s first docks. 

The Eilandje's Past - copyright Dave Van Laere

The Eilandje's Past

Weather-beaten statues, rusty wharf cranes, old bridges and locks, historic warehouses… in and around the hip Eilandje neighbourhood one finds references to an eventful maritime past and traces of the legendary Red Star Line shipping company. 

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