Antwerp

Housing

  • Rubenshof [Amerikalei 115-117, near the Royal Museum of Fine Arts / tel : 03-237-07-89 / fax: 03-248-25-94]: Located near the Royal Museum, this small and relatively inexpensive hotel is housed in a building which used to be the residence of a Belgian cardinal.

Dining

  • There are a huge number of cafés in the Groenplaats, almost all of which offer decent food at reasonable prices.
  • Panaché [Statiestraat 17 / near the Central Station] has both a delicatessen and restaurant, both of which offer decent food at inexpensive prices.
  • For a light meal in a pleasant environment try Het Dagelijks Brood [Steenhouwersvest 48 / a few blocks south of the Groenplaats, off Nationalestraat], which is know for its delightful soups and bread.
  • For pizza and pasta at reasonable prices go to Pazzeria Da Toni [Grote Markt 6]. Also in the Grote Markt is Kiekekot [Grote Markt 35], a non-frills establishment offering roasted chicken and fries at good prices.
  • For delicious crepes try Quinten Matsys [Oude Koornmarkt 21 / 1 block east of the Cathedral].
  • To try stoemp, a hearty, traditional Belgian dish made of potatoes and vegetables, go to De Stoemppot [Vlasmarkt 12 / a short walk east of the Groenplaats, near the river].
  • 't Hofke [Oude Koornmarkt 16]: cute bistro located on an historic street. Recommended by Dr. Stephan Mayo of the Department of Philosophy.

Sights

  • From the Central Station walk east along de Keyserlei Meir, Antwerp's main shopping street. Take Meir to Schoenmarkt which leads into the Groenplaats. Here you will find the imposing 14th century Cathedral of Our Lady, which houses several Flemish masterpieces, including Rubens Descent from the Cross.
  • 1 block north of the Groenplaats is the Grote Markt, in the center of which is a fountain-statue of the Roman soldier Brabo. In the Grote Markt is a Tourist office, which supplies adequate maps of the city for free.
  • Also in the Grote Markt is Antwerp's 16th century Stadhuis (town hall). Guided tours of the interior are available on Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat at 11am, 2pm and 3pm for a modest price.
  • East of the Grote Markt along the river Schelde is the 13th century Steen Castle, which now houses the National Maritime Museum.
  • On your way back to the station be sure to stop in to the Rubenshuis (Rubens House) [Wapper 9-11 / off Meir], which gives a wonderful illustration of how a gentleman like Rubens would have lived in the 17th century.
  • Just north of the Ruben's House is St. Jacobskerk (St. Jacob's Church) [Lang Nieuwstraat 73], a Gothic church that houses the remains of Peter Paul Rubens.
  • Those interested in diamonds should stop into Diamondland [Appelmansstraat 33a / 1 block east of the Central Station], which gives free guided tours of its workrooms. You can also purchase diamonds here for a fairly good price. For a better exhibition go to the Provincial Diamond Museum [Lange Herentalsestraat 31-33 / a few blocks east of the Central Station]. The area around the Central Station is known as the Diamond Quarter, where 85% of the world's rough diamonds are handled annually.

Museums

  • Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten (Royal Museum for Fine Arts) [Leopold de Waelplaats 2]. Houses the finest collection of Flemish masters, particularly Rubens, in the world. To get to the museum from the Groenplaats walk south along Nationalestraat to Volksstraat and L. de Waelstraat.
  • Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst (Museum of Contemporary Art) [Leuvenstraat 16-30 / a few blocks east of the Royal Museum, near the river]: for those interested in avant-garde exhibitions.